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BBC Sport's John Murray
"United were disjointed"
 real 14k

Everton boss Walter Smith
"We deserved a draw at least"
 real 56k

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"It was a scrappy game"
 real 56k

Saturday, 3 February, 2001, 18:07 GMT
Cole strike beats battling Everton
Everton's Steve Watson (left) and Andy Cole of Manchester United
Watson is about to deflect Cole's shot into the net
Manchester United 1-0 Everton

Andy Cole celebrated signing a new contract with Manchester United by scoring the only goal.

The sometime England striker scored after seven minutes of the second half, after a defensive Everton had beaten back almost constant pressure.

Cole was slightly fortunate. His shot from 12 yards was on target, but it was deflected in a long, high loop over goalkeeper Paul Gerrard by defender Steve Watson.

I'm a little bit aggrieved not to come away with a point after restricting Manchester United to as few chances as we did
  Walter Smith
Everton manager

The goal may have taken some time in coming, but it had long seemed on the cards.

Everton had started the second half brightly, with a brief period of pressure in the United half.

And they continued to press after conceding the goal, with a Joe-Max Moore shot deflected over by Jaap Stam.

But despite enjoying more possession in the second half, Everton could not muster a truly threatening attack.

It was a generally low-quality match, in spite of the ambitions of Everton manager Walter Smith.

  Match incidents
7 mins Chadwick shoots wide after pass from Cole
10 mins Tal shoots into side netting
28 mins Watson thwarted by Silvestre and Barthez
65 mins Campbell heads over the bar

He had talked of his players aiming to show well enough to attract the attentions of teams like the league leaders.

But, with Everton dangerously close to the relegation zone, his brave words belied more cautious and realistic intentions.

It was clear from his team selection, which included five defenders, that he was hoping to limit his losses.

And United were obviously aiming to save their players for the imminent resumption of the Champions League.

They started with Ryan Giggs and leading scorer Teddy Sheringham on the bench. Both were brought on in the second half.

It was a scrappy game and we needed a bit of luck to win it. Our defence won the game for us, they were very solid
  Sir Alex Ferguson
Manchester United manager

United had a few chances in the first half but none were taken well.

Cole might have put his team ahead in the first half. He received the ball from Paul Scholes after David Beckham had taken his free kick short.

Cole stumbled past the defenders, but shot over the bar from eight yards.

Beckham also missed with two long-range free kicks, the first one much closer to troubling Paul Gerrard than the second.

David Beckham
Beckham's touch from free kicks deserted him

As the first half wore on, Everton began to get more into the game.

Ferguson took off Paul Scholes at half time and brought on Giggs, moving Beckham into central midfield.

Everton started the second half brightly, with a short period of pressure in United's half. And Tal tried a drive from 20 yards, but it was well over.

But United soon won back possession, and Cole scored the decisive goal.

Man Utd: Barthez, Phil Neville, Brown, Stam, Irwin, Beckham, Scholes, Silvestre, Chadwick, Cole, Yorke. Subs: Van der Gouw, Solskjaer, Sheringham, Giggs, Wallwork.

Everton: Gerrard, Steve Watson, Gough, Weir, Ball, Naysmith, Tal, Gravesen, Gemmill, Moore, Campbell. Subs: Unsworth, Simonsen, Cadamarteri, Jevons, Clarke.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)

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