Fergie lauds Anderson emergence

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute to Brazilian midfielder Anderson after a string of fine performances helped 23-year-old make his mark on the Old Trafford first team.

Anderson's career at Old Trafford had stuttered of late, with the likes of Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher often preferred in the 12-time Barclays Premier League champions' big games.

However, Fletcher's illness and Carrick's lack of form has opened the door for the former Porto midfielder, and Ferguson has praised him for taking his opportunity with both hands.

"He's been tremendous, the boy," Ferguson said. "He's had a couple of long-term injuries which haven't helped him, but in the last year or so, he's steered clear of injury.

"That means he's training every day so his fitness levels are much better. And he's maturing so you can see the consistency in his game."

After seeing off Arsenal in convincing fashion last month, Ferguson is now turning his attention to United's other title rivals, with the visit of Chelsea just 11 days away.


After falling away in the title race last season, and the failure to overhaul the squad this summer, fears are rife that the age of Andre Villas-Boas squad may hinder their chances of reclaiming the title, however Ferguson believes the squad's age acts as a positive.

"They have tremendous experience with the likes of Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, John Terry, Alex, Nicolas Anelka and Fernando Torres," he added.

"But they don't have 36 or 37-year-olds like Ryan Giggs! Lampard and Drogba are 33, Anelka is 32 – not dissimilar to Carrick and Ferdinand, and we wouldn't be saying they are dead and buried, would we? So why should they? They'll still be a big threat and we expect them to challenge.

"We look at City and Chelsea as the main challengers and, if we finish above those two, we'll hopefully win the league."

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