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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 October 2006, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Ferguson salutes Solskjaer spirit
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Solskjaer has missed almost two seasons through injury
Sir Alex Ferguson singled out Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for praise after he scored twice in the win over Newcastle.

Solskjaer, out for nearly two seasons through injury, last scored in the league at Old Trafford in April 2003.

Manchester United boss Ferguson said: "If you are out of the game for two years at his age you have doubts.

"But you might find it difficult to believe that a player at the age of 33 is getting better - but that is what we have seen this season."

Louis is not fit and we will report that to France

Sir Alex Ferguson

As well as Solskjaer's goals in Manchester United's 2-0 win, equally important was the contribution of winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who hit the woodwork three times.

"He is still only 21 but his understanding of the game is always improving," added Ferguson.

"He is a fantastic athlete. There was the problem during the World Cup but I think he has always been destined to be a great player."

After the home league defeat by Arsenal and the away draw to Reading, Ferguson believes his side have rediscovered their early season form with a victory that moved them back to the top of the Premiership on goal difference.

"The performance was fantastic," said Ferguson. "We played with great intensity and controlled the game - we were back on song."

But ahead of the international break, Ferguson was less enamoured with the French Football Federation's attitude towards his striker Louis Saha, who has groin and hamstring injuries.

"They never give you any leeway - they always call the player up even if he has a leg hanging of," stated Ferguson.

"He is not fit and we will report that to France.

We fought and restricted Manchester United but it wasn't good enough

Glenn Roeder

"We just hope for common sense. I don't mind him playing if he is fit but if he is not fit he shouldn't be training or playing."

Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder defended his strategy of playing only one striker - Shola Ameobi.

"We set ourselves out to contain them and overall we did that," said Roeder.

"It would have been ridiculous for us to play a 4-4-2 system - it was hard enough for us in the way we were set up as it was.

"The timing of the goals - just before and after half-time - was very frustrating.

"We were more dogged than outstanding but the players stuck together.

"We fought and restricted Manchester United but it wasn't good enough."

And Roeder also reserved special praise for Manchester United star Ronaldo. He said: "Everyone is finding it hard to cope with Ronaldo.

"He picks up pace so quickly he could be an athlete. I certainly would not like to be a right full-back trying to stop him.

"Along with Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Arsenal's Thierry Henry, he is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous players in the Premiership."

Man Utd 2-0 Newcastle
01 Oct 06 |  Premiership
Sunday's football photos
01 Oct 06 |  Football


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