Cristiano Ronaldo said Europe was seeing a more "mature" Manchester United FC side after Sir Alex Ferguson's men strengthened their position in Group F by beating FC København last night.
One step away
United's 3-0 success over the Danish champions not only leaves last season's early European exit an ever distant memory but, moreover, means they can secure their place in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage when they visit Copenhagen in a fortnight's time. "It's a very good start - three games, three good results and we're now just one step from the second round," Ronaldo told uefa.com. "Last year we didn't play so well in the Champions League but this year the team are more compact and more mature and everybody is doing very well. København have a good team but we created chances and it was fair result."
Praise for veteran
United recovered from the loss of Rio Ferdinand (stiff neck) and Ryan Giggs (illness) before kick-off to secure a third consecutive UEFA Champions League win for the first time in three years. If the sight of the 20-year-old Wayne Rooney wearing the captain's armband in the absence of Giggs and Gary Neville offered a glimpse of United's future, however, it was one of their old guard whom Ronaldo singled out for praise after the game.
According to Ronaldo, it was a "fantastic goal" from veteran midfielder Paul Scholes that broke København's resistance six minutes before the break. Scholes struck with a trademark drive from the edge of the box for his first goal of 2006/07. "In the first half, Paul tried one shot which the goalkeeper saved but the second one was a great shot and a fantastic goal," said the Portugal winger. Scholes was, incidentally, a scorer when United last played Danish opposition here, beating Brondby IF 5-0 in the group stage en route to their 1999 UEFA Champions League triumph. It may be too soon to predict a repeat performance but United are at least on the right track.
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