Premier League – Managers: United grit pleases Fergie


A brief look at the reaction to Wednesday night’s Premier League action, with Alex Ferguson reflecting on a tough battle at St James’ Park.

Newcastle United 1-2 Manchester United

Chris Hughton: “Yes, I do (think Newcastle will survive). It’s vital that we put on that type of performance right through to the end of the season. I was delighted with the performance. In the form that Manchester United are in, to be able in a lot of periods of the game to take the game to them, take the lead and go very close to getting a second speaks volumes for this group of players.”

Alex Ferguson: “It wasn’t a great performance. We got off to a terrible start, and Newcastle were pumped up for it. We expected that and we should have dealt with it better. But coming from 1-0 down was a good result for us. It required a lot of grit. Our football has been better, and we were maybe careless with passing of the ball. Newcastle knew it was a massive game for them and went about their job in the right way. We could have been 2-0 down actually.”

Manchester City 2-0 Aston Villa

Mark Hughes: “That was one of our most accomplished performances – if not the most accomplished. It is baffling at times why we cannot produce that kind of performance away from home, although in fairness, there have been some positive signs recently.”

Martin O’Neill: “We are not nervous – we are excited. Really, if you are not excited by the position we are in, you shouldn’t be playing. We are in this position because we deserve to be. It would be a shame to throw it up now without a fight – but I don’t think we will.”

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Middlesbrough

Harry Redknapp: “That’s 10 points from five games, and you’d be flying with that average. It’s still all to play for – with 12 teams in it, I think. Even Fulham would be looking over their shoulders. This was a massive game because of the games we have coming up – three away and Chelsea at home. Another three victories should be enough. But there are 11 games left, and we want to keep pushing on.”

Gareth Southgate: “I thought we were poor defensively. We looked a threat going forward. It was open – which was exactly what we didn’t want, because they have better footballers than us. We came here in good spirits. Were we too buoyant? We certainly had belief. It was a big blow – but it’s about how we respond now. I don’t think there was complacency, but we didn’t do the right things at the right times and we weren’t as resilient as we should have been.”

Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Everton

Sam Allardyce: I couldn’t fault the team for effort. Unfortunately, we just needed a quality finish. In the second half, with the chances we had – you will never get many against Everton – we did not convert. That is probably why we are sat here 0-0.”

David Moyes: “Steven (Pienaar) had a good opportunity, and I thought he should have scored. We are disappointed, because we wanted to take three points. A point at Blackburn is not a bad result, but I would have liked to have played better and passed better.”

Stoke City 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

Tony Pulis: “Players of (goalscorer James) Beattie‘s age sometimes need the challenge of proving they can still play in the top flight. It was one of the reasons why we went and got him. He wanted this chance. His goalscoring record is smashing. Not only that, it is what he does around the place as well. He is a very good team man; he gets the players together. He has brought something else to the dressing room. He is a larger-than-life character.”

Gary Megson: “You won’t see a worst (goal) conceded up and down the country, never mind in the Premier League. Most of the time when the first goal goes in it completely changes the game. I thought we had more possession than ordinarily we do have but we weren’t good enough with it. We did not compete with Stoke when they were putting balls into the box. We did not have all 11 players performing at the level they are capable of and that has cost us.”

Wigan Athletic 0-1 West Ham

Steve Bruce: “The game was ruined as a spectacle. Carlton Cole shouldn’t have been sent off. Referee – use a bit of common sense. It had the makings of a decent game but how he sends someone off in the first half for something as petulant as that I don’t know. I feel a bit sorry for him because in my opinion Mr Attwell is not ready to step up to the plate.”

Gianfranco Zola: “I told the referee I didn’t think it was a reckless challenge, Carlton didn’t even look at the defender – he just went for the ball. He didn’t want to cause any damage and it (the sending off) was too much. The referee is a human being and they make mistakes and we are here to support them. We explained it to each other at the end of the game. He said he thought it was a reckless challenge.”

Fulham 0-1 Hull City

Roy Hodgson: “The official said to me that John (Paintsil) complained to him about being abused by somebody. The referee didn’t hear anything so he couldn’t take any action. It’s unusual to see John quite that angry so something has obviously happened out there, but what it is I don’t know. I’ll investigate it with John. I wouldn’t have thought he was abused by fans – if players got angry about that they’d be angry every time a game is played.”

Phil Brown: “It was a grind tonight to say the least but we’ve been pretty before and have been turned over. This match wasn’t about being pretty, it was about winning. I wouldn’t have said we deserved to win but a clean sheet always gets you somewhere near winning. It wasn’t a good performance. We’ve played much better than that and lost or got a point. Full credit to the defence and Manucho for coming on and scoring the goal.”