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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Sun Feb 28 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. United boss Ferguson relaxed over Ronaldo affair
2. FERGIE WANTS SCHMEICHEL TO STAY
3. GIGGS THIRSTING TO FACE BIG GUNS
4. Keane the beating heart of Manchester United
5. Europe, United and me - Interview with Ryan Giggs

++++++=========+++++++========+++++++++========++++++++

Daily RED Trivia - will return tomorrow.

***************

ALL Results & Fixture Index:
http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix9899z.htm

***********
NEXT MATCH: Wed Mar 03 vs Inter Milan (H) ECLl "Quarter Final" 1st leg 19.45
***********

Coming Matches:
March
3  Inter Milan  (H) ECLl "Quarter Final" 1st leg 19.45
7  Chelsea      (H) 14.00 FAC6 *SKY SPORTS* LIVE* + DkTV1 Scand. 
10 Liverpool    (A) 19.45 PL (moved due to FAC)
13 Newcastle    (A) 15.00 PL
17 Inter Milan  (A) ECL "Quarter Final" 2nd leg 19.45
21 Everton      (H) 15.00 PL


UNITED Stats v All teams:
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats/


*** FULL LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 28/02/99 ***

                                HOME            AWAY
                          P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GD
---------------------------------------------------------------------
 Manchester United       28 10  4  1 35 15   6  5  2 28 14    57   34
 Chelsea                 27  9  5  0 21  8   5  6  2 20 14    53   19
 Arsenal                 26  8  5  0 21  4   5  5  3 13  8    49   22
 Aston Villa             27  8  2  4 25 21   4  6  3 13 10    44    7
 Leeds United            26  8  3  2 21  6   3  6  4 18 19    42   14
 West Ham United         27  8  3  3 20 19   3  4  6 11 19    40   -7
 Liverpool               27  7  4  2 33 16   4  2  8 17 18    39   16
 Derby County            27  5  5  3 13 12   4  6  4 13 13    38    1
 Wimbledon               26  7  5  1 18 11   2  5  6 12 25    37   -6
 Sheffield Wednesday     26  6  3  4 16  8   4  2  7 18 17    35    9
 Newcastle United        26  7  2  4 20 16   2  5  6 14 19    34   -1
 Tottenham Hotspur       26  5  6  2 20 17   2  6  5 10 15    33   -2
 Middlesbrough           27  4  8  1 16 10   3  4  7 18 29    33   -5
 Leicester City          25  5  3  4 17 18   2  6  5  8 16    30   -9
 Everton                 27  3  8  3  9  7   3  2  8 11 22    28   -9
 Charlton Athletic       27  4  5  5 18 13   2  4  7 13 24    27   -6
 Coventry City           27  5  4  4 17 14   2  2 10 11 24    27   -10
 Blackburn Rovers        27  5  3  5 15 16   1  5  8 12 22    26   -11
 Southampton             26  5  2  6 20 22   1  3  9  6 28    23   -24
 Nottingham Forest       27  1  6  6 11 24   2  2 10 11 30    17   -32


*** FIXTURES ON 28/02/99 ***
    Newcastle United  v  Arsenal

*** TEAM RESULTS - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 28/02/99 ***

Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
15/08/98    Leicester City           Home     D  2-2    11    55,052
22/08/98    West Ham United          Away     D  0-0    11    26,039
09/09/98    Charlton Athletic        Home     W  4-1     9    55,147
12/09/98    Coventry City            Home     W  2-0     5    55,193
20/09/98    Arsenal                  Away     L  0-3    10    38,142
24/09/98    Liverpool                Home     W  2-0     3    55,181
03/10/98    Southampton              Away     W  3-0     2    15,251
17/10/98    Wimbledon                Home     W  5-1     2    55,265
24/10/98    Derby County             Away     D  1-1     2    30,867
31/10/98    Everton                  Away     W  4-1     2    40,079
08/11/98    Newcastle United         Home     D  0-0     3    55,174
14/11/98    Blackburn Rovers         Home     W  3-2     2    55,198
21/11/98    Sheffield Wednesday      Away     L  1-3     2    39,475
29/11/98    Leeds United             Home     W  3-2     2    55,172
05/12/98    Aston Villa              Away     D  1-1     2    39,241
12/12/98    Tottenham Hotspur        Away     D  2-2     1    36,079
16/12/98    Chelsea                  Home     D  1-1     2    55,159
19/12/98    Middlesbrough            Home     L  2-3     3    55,152
26/12/98    Nottingham Forest        Home     W  3-0     3    55,216
29/12/98    Chelsea                  Away     D  0-0     3    34,741
10/01/99    West Ham United          Home     W  4-1     3    55,180
16/01/99    Leicester City           Away     W  6-2     2    22,091
31/01/99    Charlton Athletic        Away     W  1-0     1    20,043
03/02/99    Derby County             Home     W  1-0     1    55,174
06/02/99    Nottingham Forest        Away     W  8-1     1    30,025
17/02/99    Arsenal                  Home     D  1-1     1    55,171
20/02/99    Coventry City            Away     W  1-0     1    22,596
27/02/99    Southampton              Home     W  2-1     1    55,316

******
  
Champions League:
Group D         P  W  D  L  F  A   Pts
Bayern Munich   6  3  2  1  9  6  11   
Man United      6  2  4  0 20 11  10
Barcelona       6  2  2  2 11  9   8    
Brondby         6  1  0  5  4 18   3   

******

CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE QUARTER-FINAL DRAW
 Manchester Utd    v   Inter Milan
 Real Madrid       v   Dynamo Kiev
 Juventus          v   Olympiakos
 Bayern Munich     v   Kaiserslautern

 Ties to be played on March 3 and 17

******

FA CUP Quarter Finals Draw:
(ties to be played Sat Mar 6)

 Newcastle United  v Everton
          Barnsley v Spurs
           Arsenal v Derby
 Manchester United v Chelsea (Sun Mar 7 14:00 hrs UK)


/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/


United boss Ferguson relaxed over Ronaldo affair

LONDON, Feb 27  - Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson said
on Saturday he was unconcerned about the Ronaldo factor
ahead of his side's European Cup quarter-final against
Inter Milan next Wednesday and predicted a difficult game
for the Brazilian even if he does play.

Inter's president Massimo Moratti earlier this week cast
doubt on Ronaldo's chances of playing in the first leg at
Old Trafford and suggested he might not even make the San
Siro return on March 17.

But Ferguson insisted on Saturday he was relaxed about the
mind games being played by the Italian club -- and doubtful
that United would be coming up against the Brazilian at his
best.

'All this doesn't concern me,' Ferguson said on BBC
television.

'But the boy has obviously got an injury and you can't just
all of a sudden turn the gas on whenever you want.

'His two knees have been giving him problems and he has had
an operation on one of them.

'You can't just dismiss it. You can't expect to just walk
on the pitch and immediately be at 100 percent.

'I think it's a case of half and half. He does have an
injury but obviously Inter Milan want him to play. Whether
he can or not, though, I don't know.

'But I'm not worrying too much about that. I'm just
concentrating on making sure we play at the highest level
possible.'

Ronaldo, who has played only six full matches for the UEFA
Cup holders this season, returned to training this week
after missing Inter's last seven games.

He was expected to be absent from Saturday's crunch Italian
league clash with Juventus.


****************************


FERGIE WANTS SCHMEICHEL TO STAY

By Mirror Sport

Alex Ferguson has asked Peter Schmeichel to think again and
stay on at Manchester United.

The Old Trafford boss made the surprise plea in a
one-to-one conversation with his goalkeeper, who is on
schedule to leave at the end of the season.

Ferguson has been so impressed with Schmeichel's form that
he felt the need to pop the question. The surprised Dane
was taken aback after planning carefully to escape from the
hurly-burly of English football at the end of the campaign.

Schmeichel would like to try his luck in Italy, where Serie
A clubs have been put on alert to watch him in the Champions
League clashes with Inter Milan.

However, the idea of extending his stay at United could yet
give Schmeichel second thoughts - especially if the foreign
suitors are not of top quality.

The keeper's announcement to leave was made a couple of
months ago when his form and morale was low. He claimed he
could not put his body through the rigours of English
football much longer. But Schmeichel has come back more
like his old self after a sunshine break, prompting Fergie
to realise he is still a force.

United have run into massive problems finding a replacement
- there are few out there who fit the bill, coming into the
club's pay scale and price range.

Top of the wanted list is 4million-rated Argentine Carlos
Roa, who has been starring in Spain with Mallorca. Parma's
young Italian international Pierluigi Bouffon is also under
consideration.

 PA Sporting Life

************************

GIGGS THIRSTING TO FACE BIG GUNS

By David Anderson, PA Sport

No Manchester United player is probably looking forward
more to their Champions' League showdown with Inter Milan
than Ryan Giggs.

Giggs suffered the frustration of missing both legs of last
season's quarter-final with Monaco because of a hamstring
injury.

He could only watch on from the sidelines as the French
beat United on the away goals rule to end their dreams of
European glory for yet another season.

Before he had been injured, United had been well placed in
the Premiership, Champions' League and FA Cup, but when he
returned seven weeks later their season lay in tatters.

Giggs regards that injury as the biggest disappointment of
his career and 12 months on he is straining at the leash to
face Inter at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

'It's a tough test and the big games are coming thick and
fast for us now,' he said.

'It's going to be a good time for us and all the players
want to play in the big games.

'When you talk about big games they don't come any bigger
than in the Champions' League against Inter Milan and I
can't wait.'

Three weeks ago it seemed Giggs could miss out on the
Champions' League quarter-finals yet again after he limped
off against Derby with another hamstring problem.

Ironically it was in the corresponding fixture last season
that he had sustained the injury which kept him out for
seven weeks.

But this time round the injury was not as serious and the
Welsh international is fully fit and raring to go.

'I had only been out a couple of weeks so I was not going to
lose my fitness, just a bit of sharpness maybe,' he said.

'That's coming back in training and I've had a couple of
weeks' training under my belt now.'

United's tussle with Inter is the first game of a formidable
six-match sequence in 18 days, which includes Chelsea in
the FA Cup quarter-finals and Liverpool and Newcastle away
in the Premiership.

Giggs, though, claims United must not let anything distract
them from Wednesday night. He knows against opposition of
the quality of Inter there might be no second chances.

'There are plenty of big games ahead, but as the old cliche
goes we must take it one game at a time,' he said.

'We've got to concentrate on the Champions' League for now
because in situations like this you don't always get a
second chance.

'With the league, if you lose a game you can always come
back, but in cup competitions you have to concentrate on
that particular game.'

March could well make or break United's hopes of glory on
three fronts in the Champions' League, Premiership and FA
Cup. It will be the toughest test yet of their mighty squad
and Giggs is confident they will cope.

'We're confident at this stage,' he said. 'We're top of the
league, in the FA Cup and the Champions' League as well.

'If you had said to us at the start of the season that we
would be in this position we would have been well pleased.

'It's going to be difficult with all these big games coming
up, but that's how we like it and we're really looking
forward to them all.'

 PA Sporting Life

*******************************

Keane the beating heart of Manchester United

By Kevin Fylan

LONDON, Feb 27  - Roy Keane, the man once described by Alex
Ferguson as the heartbeat of Manchester United, will be
charged this week with keeping his side coursing towards
domestic and European success.

Keane came off the bench on Saturday to will a jaded United
to a 2-1 victory over Southampton, a win that maintained
their four-point lead at the top of the premier league.

But United hopes of returning to trophy-winning ways, after
a season void of silverware last year, will face three far
more severe tests over the coming 11 days.

And manager Ferguson will look to his midfield general
Keane to keep them pressing for success on three fronts.

A midweek date with Inter Milan in the European Cup
quarter-final will be followed on Sunday by an F.A. Cup
last-eight clash with Chelsea.

Ferguson's men then take on arch-rivals Liverpool in the
premier league as they look to maintain their slim lead
over Chelsea and Arsenal, their only realistic challengers.

Much has been made this season of the extra attacking
dimension brought to the team by Dwight Yorke, the 16-goal
Trinidad and Tobago striker who scored United's second
against Southampton.

But more important to United's chances of European and
domestic success is the return of Keane.

The Irishman missed almost all of last season after a
serious knee injury in October.

Without him, United crashed out of Europe at the
quarter-final stage to Monaco, lost to Barnsley in the F.A.
Cup and let slip a commanding lead in the premier league,
allowing Arsenal a clear run to the title.

But, back at the heart of the midfield, United look in a
much stronger position to challenge for success on three
fronts.

His value to United was put in sharp relief on Saturday as,
with his side being held at halftime 0-0 by Southampton, he
came off the bench to inspire victory.

Keane scored the first goal himself and was instrumental as
United, understandably distracted by their European date,
were finally able to overcome a committed Southampton
outfit. Keane himself recognised how hard it had been to
concentrate on the premier league with Inter on the horizon.

'Of course people were looking forward to the Milan game,'
Keane said after his vital 45-minute appearance.

'But the manager made changes and we've gone out and won,
which was the only important thing.

'We knew Southampton would have been delighted with a point
and we expected a hard game from them.

'But we didn't think of this as a run of the mill type of
game -- we knew it was going to be hard.'

The retirement of Eric Cantona before the start of last
season left a gap at the heart of the United side -- a gap
Ferguson was banking on Keane to fill.

The Irishman's injury robbed United of some of their
swagger but also a measure of self-belief. Without Keane
and Cantona, United clearly lacked quality against their
leading rivals and an ability to grind out results over
lesser sides.

Now, though, Ferguson believes he has found the long-term
successor to Cantona -- and the man to lead his team to
European Cup success this season.

'As a captain he sets down the benchmarks for the rest,'
Ferguson said this week. 'He's done the job brilliantly.

'Eric Cantona was a hard act to follow as team captain. But
in a different way, Roy is proving just as good. He is my
new Cantona.'


*********************

Europe, United and me

-- Paul Wilson talks to Ryan Giggs in an exclusive interview
-- Sunday February 28, 1999


He knows that the Champions League is his biggest stage.
And the spotlight is back on him Big match man By Paul
Wilson Ryan Giggs smiles, half pleased, half modest, at the
suggestion that he reserves some of his best performances
for big European games. 'I think we all do,' he said.
'Certainly we all try to. All footballers want to prove
themselves at the highest level possible, and coming to
terms with the Champions' League is the biggest challenge
facing us at the moment. All the lads look forward to the
games, especially when it gets to the knockout stage.'

Yes, but it was Giggs who was described as 'a marvellous
player' by Juventus coach Marcelo Lippi after a
particularly influential performance last season. The
irksome comparisons with George Best were never more apt
than at that point, since Giggs too appeared to be playing
in the knowledge that without access to a world stage, a
European Cup final really would represent the highest level
of football possible. Something about the determination
with which he fought back from injury to be fit to face
Inter Milan on Wednesday suggested the same imperative
still applies. 'He's a big match player,' Alex Ferguson
said. 'He enjoys these European occasions.'

As does everyone else, but most of the rest of the United
team have a World Cup or European championship to aim for
every couple of years. Only Dwight Yorke also knows how it
feels to be locked in a cycle of unsuccessful international
qualifiers, and look how keen he was to leave Aston Villa
and how frequently he cited Champions League football as the
main attraction at Old Trafford.

Giggs is disarmingly realistic about his situation. 'It is
becoming increasingly difficult to qualify for major
championships with Wales,' he said. 'So to that extent I'm
happy to be playing against the best players in Europe for
United, but I'm not sure that makes me any more determined
than the others in the team. I think it's the same for all
of us. The Champions League is a break from playing in the
Premiership, and a big step up. It's an honour to be
playing against the most famous clubs in Europe, and at the
same time your own club's honour is at stake, so there's no
way you can take it lightly. You are also aware that if you
do well in Europe, either as a club or as an individual,
people take notice. You can make a name for yourself, and
that's what it's all about really. I want to be renowned as
a good player, someone capable of playing with the best,
and there's no better way of measuring your progress than
by pitting yourself against teams like Juventus and
Barcelona.'

This is quite precisely put, for though Giggs is aware
there is another way, and that he would not be short of
offers should he ever indicate a willingness to play in
Europe, he is convinced he has got the best of all possible
worlds at United. 'I have four years still to run on my
contract, and I'm very happy about that,' he said. 'As long
as we are playing in the Champions League every year I have
everything I want right here. I think there was an
attraction in playing abroad about 10 years ago, when
Italian clubs in particular seemed to offer a level of
professionalism and sophistication which just wasn't
available in England, but all that's changed. The top of
the Premiership is as good a place to be as anywhere now,
and that's probably why there aren't any British players
going out to Italy any more.'

Giggs feels, in any case, that if Champions' League success
is to be the benchmark, he would be hard pushed to find a
club with a better chance than his present one. 'We've made
the last eight three years running, and there are some big
clubs around Europe who can't match that,' he said.
'Obviously we would have liked to have done better. Two
years ago we had a very good chance, but we're getting more
experience all the time and we're still improving. I want
us to dominate the Champions' League like we dominated the
Premiership for a while, but these things don't happen
overnight. It took us a while to get the right blend in the
Premiership, then we won it, then we dominated it. I think
we can do the same in Europe. We are big enough and we've
got the ambition.'

United now seem to have a squad large enough to tackle the
task this time round too. Ferguson conceded a while ago that
a shortage of quality players at a crucial phase of the
competition had cost the club dear last season, and United
appear mentally and physically livelier than 12 months ago.
It is not just that Ferguson now has reserves of the
calibre of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jesper Blomqvist to
slot in should the need arise, but the 22m spent on Jaap
Stam in defence and Yorke in attack has stiffened the side
and provided a real cutting edge. The fees appeared
excessive at the start of the season, but both players have
quickly proved their value. As a fellow attacker, Giggs is
particularly appreciative of the extra dimension Yorke has
brought to the forward line. 'I think part of the reason
people were critical of Dwight's signing was because he was
seen as a maker of goals rather than a goalscorer,' he said.
'He was not thought to be what we needed, but he's ended up
being top scorer, so fair play to him and to the boss.

'He has surprised me a little, to be honest. I didn't
realise how good a player he is until I started playing
with him. It was a bit like Eric Cantona all over again.
I'd seen him playing for Leeds without being unduly
impressed I don't mean I didn't rate him but he didn't
strike me as exceptional yet as soon as we were in the same
team it was obvious from the start the man was a genius. I
suppose that shows I had better stick to playing, but it
probably also demonstrates that the quality we have here
brings out the best in players. I'm sure that is what
Dwight is finding.'

It is no secret that Giggs feels Cantona had a major
influence on his development and felt a sense of loss when
he retired, but the 25 year old lost an even closer guide
and mentor this season when Brian Kidd departed to
Blackburn. But for Kidd, Giggs might never even have signed
for United, and in his various capacities as development
officer, reserve team coach and Ferguson's assistant, the
new manager at Ewood has supervised every stage of the
Welshman's career.

'Brian was one of the main reasons why I joined this club,
then he looked after me when I was coming through the A and
B teams, and finally ended up coaching me in the first
team,' he said. 'Of course you are going to miss someone
like that, especially someone who had so many good ideas
for the training pitch, but life has to go on. The new
coach has plenty of new ideas, which is a good thing, but
we've practically only just met, we are still getting used
to each other. I think Blackburn have got a good man and I
hope everything goes well for him, but I'm not the only
player in the team who came through the ranks with Brian. I
suppose we all knew he would go one day, if we were being
sensible about it, but we all pushed the possibility to the
back of our minds.' Kidd, Giggs can confirm, was a major
component of the club's success. 'He worked hard at his job
and he was good at his job, he was one of the best,' he
said. Unsurprisingly, the admiration is mutual. 'Ryan was
the best schoolboy I have ever seen, from day one he was
exceptional,' Kidd said. 'The grapevine was buzzing about
this kid when I first got back in at United and he was at
Maine Road with the Blues, but he has worked hard. It is
not just natural ability that has made him a superstar, he
has done it through hard work. That, and the fact he hasn't
changed at bit, speaks volumes.'

The grapevine is still buzzing, according to Kidd, only now
on a global scale. 'Ryan has already proved himself on the
European stage, I know that from my friends in Italy,' he
said. 'I know how highly he is thought of over there, and
there is no bigger compliment in the world of football that
when Italian clubs, coaches and managers rate you.' There
were compliments this week from Roberto Baggio. 'You can
embarass yourselves trying to pick out the best United
players,' he said. 'But I like Giggs very much.'

Kidd cuations though about setting too much store by
Europe. 'He doesn't have to prove anything at home or
abroad either as a person or a player, and he doesn't have
to win a European Cup to prove his worth,' said Kidd.
'George Best was just the same. We both played in the same
European Cup-winning team, but he didn't need the medal to
prove his value. Whether we won the Cup or not players like
George Best were always going to be considered world class.
Ryan is in the same category. Truly world class players are
truly world class players, irrespective of what they win.'
But winning never does much harm in football, as Kidd is
currently well-placed to observe. It seems hardly fair that
he should be worrying about relegation while United step
out to face Ronaldo, Baggio and the rest, but no one is
complaining. In fact if United sparkle against Inter over
the next two matches, the Blackburn boss will surely be
permitted a smile.

In those circumstances even Ferguson might manage one,
though United now have enough experience of European
disappointment to know it is never over until it is over.
'It won't really be over even then,' Giggs said. 'We all
want to win the Champions League, everybody knows that, but
it doesn't stop there. If we do win it, we'll want to
defend it. Try and win it again and again.

***************

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