Usuthu impress Ferguson
20 July 2012 | NEVILLE KHOZA
DURBAN – Despite losing 1-0 to United, Ferguson was impressed with how Usuthu fared against his side in their first MTN Football Invitational Tour game as the PSL side could have easily walked away victors had they not missed chances.
“I think that AmaZulu showed how good they are, they made it difficult for us to play the ball forward,” Ferguson said.
“It is always important to win the first game of the pre-season, AmaZulu played well,” the Scot added.
Ferguson singled out AmaZulu right-back Tsweu Mokoro, who had an outstanding match in defence and was the major reason why Usuthu only lost to a goal from Federico Macheda in the first half.
“They did very well I thought No 17 (Mokoro) did well for me, especially in the second half. He was very aggressive, he covered his area very well ... good defender and I think he is a good player,” the Scot added.
Ferguson was also impressed by the performance of some of the younger players in the squad, in particular, 18-year-old midfielder Jesse Lingard.
“We tried to give as many players as possible game-time,” he said. “We’ve got 20-odd players and have more coming back after the three games, so this is where you need to give some guys time.
“But you still have to make sure you win the match because there is always a danger that you can make too many changes and you can lose your rhythm, which I thought there were signs of in the second half, but in general the younger players did okay.
“I thought Jesse Lindgard in the first half did very well for us. Physically he still has a bit to do, but he showed huge potential,” he said.
Ferguson also praised wantaway striker Dimitar Berbatov’s performance and hinted that he would listen to offers for him when they return to England.
“He’s a fantastic talent. The boy wants to play and I’m happy about that,” Ferguson said. “But if someone comes in we’d have to assess that situation.”
AmaZulu coach Roger Palmgren was equally happy with his side and was also full of praise for his defence, but was left to rue a string of missed chances.
“Of course it is full of respect when you play a big team from Europe, one of the biggest in the world, but the guys have to understand that they have two legs and are the same as us,” said Palmgren. “But again, it was the first game for Manchester United and I’m not sure if they were at full speed for this fixture.
“Overall, looking at ourselves, I am quite happy with how we defended and we also created some chances during the game, especially in the second half. But once against we showed some kind of weakness or not being competent in front of the opponent’s goal, so that is something we have to work on.”
n United face Ajax Cape Town tomorrow in the last match of their tour at the Cape Town Stadium.
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