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Page last updated at 18:48 GMT, Saturday, 11 April 2009 19:48 UK

Ferguson hails 'special' Macheda

Federico Macheda
Another Macheda late strike gave United victory

Sir Alex Ferguson lavished praise on substitute Federico Macheda after his goal secured a 2-1 win at Sunderland to put Manchester United top of the table.

"He's got something special about him, the boy," said the United manager of the 17-year-old Italian striker.

"He has a good eye for goal, a terrific physique and is not shy about playing under pressure - that's credit to him.

"He wasn't fazed by anything. Right away, he got involved in the game and he had a good 20 minutes for us."

In the space of a week Macheda has scored two goals in two substitute appearances, after his late goal on his league debut earned a 3-2 win over Aston Villa.

Ferguson decided to bring on Macheda as a 75th minute substitute to replace Dimitar Berbatov, with United in desperate need of a winning goal to overtake Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

We battled hard for win - Phelan

Securing all three points proved vital for United's title defence, on a day when both rivals Liverpool and Chelsea had been victorious.

"It's a boost, of course and an important away victory for us," said Ferguson.

"Sunderland is a difficult place to come, they were very committed so we can be pleased with that.

"The important thing is we have seven games left now and at this point, it is about cutting each game off as they come along."

But the 67-year-old Scot played down suggestions that his team were feeling increased pressure in the title run-in.

We gave it our all - Sbragia

"At the end of the day you have to do your own job and have the confidence in your players to react to any situation.

"Irrespective of where our opponents are the expectation is that Manchester United should get a result."

Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia said Macheda's goal had been a cruel end to a good performance from his side.


"I'm not sure how much Macheda knew about scoring the goal but he's in a rich vein of form so that's how it goes.

"A late strike like that is always is a cruel blow when you're 1-1 with Manchester United.

"We had our chances and if we had been a bit more ruthless we could have been 2-1 up at half-time," Sbragia added.

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see also
Sunderland 1-2 Man Utd
11 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Ferguson stokes up Benitez rift
11 Apr 09 |  Man Utd
Benitez reignites Ferguson rift
07 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Who is Federico Macheda?
06 Apr 09 |  Man Utd
Macheda hails dream Man Utd debut
06 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Man Utd 3-2 Aston Villa
05 Apr 09 |  Premier League

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