x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Possebon news cheers Ferguson

Brazilian did not have leg broken. The United manager is incensed by horror tackle from Middlebrough's Pogatetz

The Boro captain Pogatetz lunges in on United's Possebon.
The Boro captain Pogatetz lunges in on United's Possebon.

MANCHESTER // Sir Alex Ferguson's mood was less dark yesterday after hearing that his teenage player Rodrigo Possebon had not broken a leg after a horror tackle from Middlesbrough's Emanuel Pogatetz. It was initially suspected that The Brazilian midfielder, 19, had broken a leg during United's 3-1 Carling Cup victory, but these fears were allayed when, after being kept in hospital overnight, it was revealed there was no break.

However, further tests were being carried out to determine whether there was knee ligament damage. Ferguson was scathing of Pogatetz, who was sent off. "You don't want to see things like that and I hope I never see anything like it again," said the United manager, whose side went on to win only their second game in a stuttering start to the season. "It is such a pity for the boy and took the gloss off what was a really good performance. For the kid to make his first start and get an injury like that is pretty horrendous.

"The thing that gets me about challenges like that is that the opponent always claims he has done nothing wrong. "He [Pogatetz] should have just walked off the field. Then you get their bench screaming that it wasn't a sending off and there is nothing wrong with our player. "At least [the Boro manager] Gareth Southgate was very good about it. He apologised and understood the gravity. It was an absolutely terrible tackle."

Ferguson used Tuesday night's encounter to show off some of the rich talent eager to taste the Old Trafford limelight. But it was one of his world-class men who particularly pleased him. Cristiano Ronaldo, making his first start since his ankle operation in the summer, scored a goal and looked lively throughout the match. Ferguson revealed that he spurred him into staying at the club by urging him to emulate another United legend, Eric Cantona.

"I pointed out to him how much better it would be to leave like Cantona, with the fans loving and appreciating him," he said. "The crowd still chant Cantona's name and I told Cristiano 'Leave a hero like Eric' and one day he will - but not yet. Liverpool joined United in the last 16 as they squeezed out a 2-1 win over Crewe, while Sunderland and Stoke needed penalties to go through. Two other English Premier League sides West Ham and Fulham both went out, however. A 1-0 defeat at Watford rounded off a miserable day for the Hammers, who face paying Sheffield United up to £50million (Dh340m) after losing a compensation battle following the "Carlos Tevez affair".

Gianfranco Zola, their new coach, could have little to spend in the January transfer window, but he said: "Let me have these concerns if that happens. It's something the club is handling right now, when the decision is made then we'll make some considerations. "We have to keep working like this [with this squad] until January anyway and I'm happy to do that." Roy Hodgson made eight changes to Fulham and was not too disheartened as Jay Rodriguez proved the local hero for Burnley with a late winner.

The former UAE coach said: "The Premier League is our priority and some of my players have niggling injuries. I am pleased with the team as many of the players were in for the first time." @Email:akhan@thenational.ae