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BBC Five Live's Dave Woods
"No problems for Manchester United"
 real 14k

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"It was a fantastic performance"
 real 14k

Tuesday, 5 September, 2000, 22:59 GMT 23:59 UK
Superb United bury Bradford
Teddy Sheringham (right) and Quinton Fortune
Sheringham congratulates two-goal Fortune
Manchester United 6-0 Bradford City

Manchester United sent out a warning to the rest of the Premiership by demolishing Bradford in front of another full house at Old Trafford.

The champions may have been without skipper Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Jaap Stam and Paul Scholes, but they still had too much ammunition for their beleaguered opponents.

It could - and should - have been more, but Sir Alex Ferguson will be more than happy with his side's performance, which ensured United finished the evening on top of the table.

Quinton Fortune and Teddy Sheringham both scored twice, with Andy Cole and David Beckham also finding the net.


If you look at the quality of the goals, it's unusual to get four goals as good as that in the one game. These were goals almost out of the blue and it was a funny scoreline. I think for Bradford, maybe the scoreline was a bit unfair
  Sir Alex Ferguson
With Keane suspended, Beckham was handed a more central role alongside Nicky Butt, who was available again after completing a four-match ban.

United also took the opportunity to rest Giggs and Scholes, although both players were named among the substitutes.

That meant Fortune and Jonathan Greening were handed their first Premiership starts of the season, on the left and right flanks respectively.

Carbone jinks past Butt
Carbone jinks past Butt
Ronnie Wallwork was also given a rare first-team outing, partnering Ronnie Johnsen in the heart of defence in place of the injured Stam.

Bradford, beaten 4-0 both home and away by the Reds last season, opted to go with two strikers, Dean Windass and Benito Carbone, rather than adopting a more defensive line-up.

United dominated from the start, controlling the pace of the game and slicing their way through the Bradford defence with some sharp passing and clinical one-touch football.

No surprise

It came as no surprise when the pressure told after just 11 minutes, Cole putting them ahead with his third goal of the season.

The England striker latched onto a defence-splitting pass from Sheringham and let fly first time from just outside the box.

Whether the shot would have beaten Matt Clarke without taking a wicked deflection off Peter Atherton we will never know.


They were hot. We conceded some bad goals, so we are very disappointed. If you are looking for the title winners, I wouldn't look too far beyond out there
  Bradford manager Chris Hutchings

But the Bradford goalkeeper could certainly do nothing to prevent the ball from looping over his head and into the back of the net.

United doubled their lead on 23 minutes, when Fortune pounced.

Sheringham was again involved in the build-up, feeding the ball to Beckham wide out on the right.

Evaded

His cross evaded the diving Cole but Fortune came steaming in at the back post to smash a first-time shot past a hapless Clarke.

The home side lost their concentration around the half-hour mark - and were almost made to pay.

Carbone capitalised on some rare hesitancy in the United defence to fire a shot just over the crossbar, much to the anger of Fabien Barthez, who was quick to berate his defence.

Fortune holds off Wetherall
Fortune holds off Wetherall
Moments later, the United goalkeeper was forced to use more than just his mouth, rushing off his line to dive bravely at the feet of Dean Windass.

It was not long before United were back on the offensive and peppering the Bradford goal from all angles and ranges.

Only the heroics of Clarke prevented the visitors from slipping further behind, his brilliant one-handed save on 37 minutes keeping out a trademark free-kick from Beckham, albeit with the aid of a post.

Dull affair

The start of the second half was largely a dull affair, although Barthez did his best to light up the night with his outrageous antics.

The confident Frenchman came out of his area on several occasions, showing off skills that team-mates Beckham and Giggs would have been proud of.

When they weren't showboating, United did manage to add to their tally, Fortune scoring his second of the night with a 25-yard deflected strike on 60 minutes.

Sheringham grabbed a fourth on 71 minutes when he lashed a shot into the top left-hand corner after being found by a superb crossfield ball from Mikael Silvestre.

The former Spurs frontman then made it 5-0 on 81 minutes with a far-post header from an inch-perfect cross from Greening, who needed treatment after colliding with the advertising hoardings.

The scoring did not end there, Beckham piling even more misery onto the visitors by firing home a sixth five minutes from time.

Bradford came close to grabbing a consolation when Windass hit the post - but that's all it would have been.


Teams:

Man Utd: Barthez, G Neville, Johnsen, Wallwork, Silvestre, Beckham, Butt, Greening, Sheringham, Cole, Fortune. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Scholes, P Neville, Solskjaer, Giggs.

Bradford: Clarke, Atherton, Nolan, McCall, Wetherall, Whalley, Halle, Sharpe, Windass, Carbone, Hopkin. Subs: Myers, Ward, Beagrie, Davison, Jacobs.

Referee: R Harris (Oxford).

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