Sir Alex Ferguson hailed hat-trick hero Michael Owen following Manchester United's 3-1 win over Wolfsburg in Germany.

Needing a point to secure top spot in Champions League Group B, United flattened their hosts even though they had 14 senior players missing. The result means Ferguson's men will avoid many of Europe's biggest names, including Real Madrid, in the first knockout round as well as playing the second leg at home.

Owen has now taken his tally to seven for United and Ferguson said: "It was a fantastic performance. Michael's finishing and positional play were superb."

He added: "I made the point some weeks ago that his training performances have improved steadily. I have had no worries about him.

"Obviously in some games recently we have only played with one striker and Wayne Rooney has been it. Here we used a different system.

"The evidence of a player is always on the football field and Michael has given us that. He has proved his worth and I am delighted with his performance."

Ferguson does expect strikers Dimitar Berbatov and Rooney to be fit for Saturday's encounter with Aston Villa along with Ryan Giggs, the only member of the 14 to be rested. Crucially, Nemanja Vidic has recovered from the flu virus that kept him at home.

"Our defence will be Fletcher, Carrick, Vidic and Evra," confirmed Ferguson, his statement suggesting that Wes Brown will not have recovered from a hamstring injury as he had hoped.

"If Wolfsburg had gone in front it would have made it very difficult for us. In that instance I do not know whether we would have persisted with the system we used," he added.

"I just felt it was the best way to try and keep them out because Wolfsburg are a good attacking team. I felt we would get chances on the counter-attack and thankfully that is what happened."

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Topics:
#Ryan Giggs
#European News
#Dimitar Berbatov
#Wes Brown
#Michael Owen
#Premier League
#Alex
#UEFA Champions League
#Manchester United
#Nemanja Vidic
#Wayne Rooney
#Aston Villa
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