New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol
Well obviously we’re happy with the way things went things went in the first half. I thought we were pretty solid, defended well. We were fitter and sharper than them, so it was important that we kept things tight and we did. We changed the whole back four because we have a huge game coming up on Sunday. We knew it would cause us some problems, but we know what we have to do to look after ourselves for Sunday. Obviously for the fans, it was good to see some goals - and obviously, a good night for everybody. I’m sure (Sir) Alex (Ferguson) is happy with what he saw. It’s a training session, basically, for them, so he’ll be pleased, I’m sure.
There were a couple occasions where we kept it pretty well (in the first half). We had a couple of chances – Shalrie (Joseph) was unlucky with the header. But obviously they had a chance with [Dimitar Berbatov] – a great save from Matt (Reis.) But as far as I can remember, we restricted them to that great chance. Other than that, I thought we defended well. We’re playing against players who, at the end of the day, are smarter between the ears than your average player and I thought we dealt with that well.
On the Revs’ goal …
[Laughing] It’s nice to see things coming together.
(Benny Feilhaber) again used his brain. We hoped to have him playing in front of Shalrie and Pat (Phelan), but he wasn’t getting on the ball and he made the adjustment himself to get on the ball. It certainly paid (off) for us, as whenever he had it, he was picking people out and picking our players out. So that adjustment was his own, but that shows you what a talented player he is.
If (Michael Owen) was 41, he still would have taken it well. Obviously your legs go a bit, but as I keep saying, it’s what goes on between your ears. He finds that extra half’s-yard, that extra yard that’s not in his legs, he finds it with his brain – his positional sense. When you have the guys of that caliber, they have to give him the ball. Then there’s only one thing that’s going to happen and he’s going to put it in the back of the net.
Revolution midfielder Kenny Mansally
It felt great. This is big year for all of us. A team like Manchester United, one of the best teams in the world, so coming in to compete with them, at least the first half and we kept the ball and in the second half we were kind of misunderstanding each other. But I think for us it was a great game for us and a great experience for us.
“Yeah, because like today, the way we started the game, we’re getting ready for Philadelphia because in the league we know where we stand … we want to get more points so that we can be in the playoffs. So, that’s where our focus is, so we’re working hard for that. Especially me, coming from the bench all the time, so I’m just going to work hard to be in the starting lineup.
Wow. For me, like if you told me we were going to get this kind crowd every game I don’t think we would lose any points. Because you know you get the home support and this kind of crowd, it’s unbelievable. So, I think for us today we got that support and that’s all we need so we’re just going to compete and get the points going.
Yeah, for me, I’m just going away so the ball touched me and I saw it in the back of the net … it can be started any where the ball touches, you have to go and a team like ManU and you get a goal like that, I feel happy.
“Yeah, because you competed with ManU, one of the best teams in the world, and you kept the ball and forced things to happen. You can identify who is ManU or Revolution and I think we got possession. The only thing is we know we can create chances. We keep the ball and for me, I was on the bench and loved it and getting in at that time so we could get something going.
New England Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph
We can take some positives in terms of how we moved the ball, defensively we were sharp, especially in the first half, and we created a little bit of chances but, as I said, at the end of the day, we got beat 4-1 by a better team.
I think that was the most important thing that we got out of tonight, especially the starting 11. We were a very confident team and I thought we moved the ball well, possessed it in great areas, had great chances and get a shutout. But at the end of the day, mental mistakes over and over was we got punished for. A team of Manchester’s caliber, you can’t make those kinds of mistakes and tonight we lost 4-1.
The positive thing about it was we moved the ball well and that’s where we’ve been struggling: to keep possession, to create chances, to move the ball on teams in MLS. Tonight we did it against probably the second-best team in the world and we can tip our hats for that and take a little positives out of that even though we still lost 4-1. At the end of the day, we have to be better over the weekend and take what we did tonight in the first half and transfer it into the MLS season and MLS games and try to be better every week.
Matt (Reis) is unbelievable, that’s not surprising to me. He does that in practice all the time so it’s just like another save for him, but he kept us in the game early. They had a couple of chances early and Matty came up with big saves. I had one in the first half that I should have done better [to finish] off a Christ Tierney cross. I mean we kept the ball well and that’s where we’ve been struggling to do in the MLS season and tonight we did that in the first half. We moved it well and created chances and getting numbers off the ball moving, get third runners in and we can take a lot of positive from that.
New England Revolution defender A.J. Soares
I feel good, I feel confident about the team. I thought we went in and played well. We hung with the biggest club in the world. You couldn’t ask for anything more - 0-0 at halftime. Fortunately for the fans, they got some action in the second half. As a fan, for myself personally, it’s amazing to watch those guys play. They’re great, but no disrespect to them, I think we hung and did well.
(We had) no fear at all. We took it like we were going out and playing an MLS game. Anytime you’re playing a team like that, your emotion gets up a little more. It’s an exciting thing. It’s possibly a once-in-a-lifetime thing to play against Man United.
They’re not at their fitness level yet at all. They’re only a few days in. With that being said, I felt like I hung - marked (Dimitar) Berbatov mostly, saw a little bit of (Wayne) Rooney, a little bit of Nani, but I felt confident. I feel like I did a good job.
I think after watching that [performance], regardless of the score line, we gave them an exciting game. We’re a good team and we’ve had some bad luck this year. We’ve had a few ups and a few downs, and I think that everyone who came out today saw that we have quality. Hopefully they are excited to come back and watch us again.
I think they select the best pass every time. They play to the proper side every time. They had good technique. It’s nothing incredibly different that they do than any normal, average player. It’s just that they do it every time the right way. That being said, when you watch Shalrie (Joseph) today, Shalrie showed that he’s at the level of those guys. He could be on that team without a question. It’s just consistency. It’s them selecting the right ball every single time.
New England Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber
I knew I was going to play a little bit over a half and coming up is the Philadelphia game only four days away, so I was happy with my performance for the most part.
They turned it up a notch in the second and we definitely, I think to be honest, I think the first three goals we could have done better at. The fourth goal they played tic-tac-toe on us in the box so that was a great goal. But the first three goals I thought we could have done better. But give them credit as well, they’re a great team.
There’re always things that can improve; you’re playing against one of the best teams in the world so it’s just good to be out there and kind of challenge yourself against that kind of competition. So it was really fun. I thought we did really well in the first half. I didn’t think they dominated the game in the first half. I thought we had our chances, we had some possession. It’s always good to get anything positive against these guys. Forty-five minutes is a solid amount of time. At the end of the day, you’ve got to get 90 minutes and regardless whether you’re playing Man U. or if you’re playing Philadelphia, or whoever you’re playing, you’re going to have to get 90 minutes to get a result. If we play the way we played in the first half for 90 minutes against Philadelphia I’m sure we can get something.
I just told Kenny (Mansally), ‘Stand there and I’ll bank it off you and go in.’ No, I’m glad Kenny was there because I don’t think that was going in the goal. I was just going to try and aim that spot because the wall was really close - I don’t even think they gave us 10 yards - but wanted to go goalie-side. I miss-hit it a bit, and Kenny was in the right spot, hit it off the shins - or wherever it hit him - and great finish by him.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
It was all about getting our tempo back and these are the types of games that help towards that. I thought in the second half when we speeded up the passing up through the last subs, we scored some very good goals through that. So I am satisfied.
The first half (New England) were very competitive. And I think what happens when you make changes in a game, sometimes you lose that momentum you had in the first half. I thought they did pretty well then, I think that maybe they weren’t as forceful and powerful as they were in the first half. Athletic, it’s what you expect of the States’ teams – they’re all athletic, very committed, fit, and organized. So yeah, they’ll be pleased.
Well, (soccer in the U.S. is) new. We’ve got 130 years of history behind us. English soccer’s been going for a long, long time. I’ve noticed an improvement last year when we came across, added more teams, a bigger league and I think that it’s a far, far bigger project in terms of soccer throughout the country. It’s taken off. There’s no question that it’s take off, soccer, here – that’s absolute no doubt about that. And you’re getting some good crowds for the games now. I think that I would say that there will be big decisions on how to lay the line, i.e. the travel, maybe split the country into different leagues, something like that. For the United States to do that, I think would make for far better competition and bring more teams into the soccer and that way then. I look at the States as incredible potential. The potential is that you’ve got young kids throughout the country – millions – playing soccer but how long college football, college soccer, there’s nowhere for it to go, so until you get a league that relegates, and the soccer leagues, from MLS straight down, so that young kids in the leagues, schools can go to different types of leagues depending on their abilities. They have it in England, they have it in Germany, they have it in France and then they got the relegate system so that it enables all kids to have an opportunity like … going up to school. Once they get that, then the league gets stronger.
It doesn’t matter where you go to have your preseason. The end thing is that you hope come through without any injuries first of all, two that the players get the fitness required to start their league program. So it doesn’t matter where we go, it’s the end game is to make sure everyone’s fit. Now, coming to the States is an advantage in the sense that the travel, food, language, accessibility to a lot of things, have a walk down the street, go and get a coffee, have a coffee; the relaxation that you don’t get in other countries. You go to the Far East, it’s phenomenal, the Far East, in terms of support and affection for Manchester United. There’s thousands outside the hotel. So you get there first for relaxation and reconciliation but you’ve got to admire the fanaticism of support in the Far East. No matter whether it’s Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, it’s all the same. They can think of it that way in the States, of course, but not as intense, you know?
Manchester United Midfielder Nani
(New England) showed good quality. They played good football. They have the advantage over us because they are in competition already. We just started now. It was good to play them.
(Their) position was good. They play compact. In the first half, it was very, very compact. A lot of quality when they pass the ball. I think they can be a good team.
We prepare all season to win the league, the Champions League and we will see how this season [goes].
Manchester United Forward Wayne Rooney
I thought it was a decent game, and it’s good to get your first game under your belt. It’s most difficult to play your first game. It’s a difficult pitch to play on. Overall, I was pleased to get a run out.
(The start of a new season) is exciting, and hopefully we can gel well quick and bring success to the team.
It was a good game. Obviously, it’s always difficult your first game back in preseason, but I thought did well and it was a good result.
Manchester United Goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard
I think it is a bit as I imagined. You play very much in the middle. It doesn’t seem like you use the central defenders a lot with the ball. I was maybe a bit surprised that it was so technical – playing back and forth with small passes, not as many long passes I would have expected.
It was the first match of the season. For us it was about getting a lot of air through the lungs for the outfield players. For the goalkeepers, it was about keeping your focus high. There were long parts of the game when I didn’t touch the ball very much, so it was very much about keeping the focus.
I think (our fitness) was pretty good, but of course, there is a lot to come. There is going to be a lot of running still before the first (league) match of the season. We still have a hard time in front of us.
Manchester United forward Federico Macheda
Yeah, it was good to be back that way. I’m very happy because it was a good start.
I’ve never been here. That was the first time, it was pretty impressive.
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic
I think it was a good game; it was a lot of goals. After the first week of training, I think you see some benefits today. We just trained five days and this is the first game and I think we did alright. But I expect a lot of, much better game and much better football in the next few games.