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Old 10th December 2005, 11:01   #1
Paul Brooks

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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Wheelieville, REPUBLIK OF MANCUNIA.
Posts: 11,364

Man Utd v Everton, tomorrow, KO 4pm
David Mcdonnell
10 December 2005

CARLOS QUEIROZ defied all logic yesterday by claiming that Manchester United are still on course for "a great season."

And Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man invited further ridicule by insisting that United did not deserve to be dumped out of the Champions League and are moving forward.

What's more, he believes Roy Keane would have made no difference to the abject surrender at Benfica in midweek.

United boss Fergie was attending a funeral yesterday, so it was left to his assistant to offer an explanation for the club's problems.

But instead of acknowledging United's sharp decline in recent seasons, Queiroz claimed there was still room for optimism in their triple pursuit of the Premiership, FA Cup and Carling Cup.

"I am sure at the end of the season we will be able to say this has been a great season for us," said Queiroz.

"We are moving forward and we trust all of our players, which is why we are confident we will still have a good season. We have to rebound from what has happened and fight for the three remaining trophies available to us.

"It is not time to judge us now. The time to do that is at the end of the season."

Queiroz's words will not go down well with Old Trafford fans who feel they deserve an explanation for a season that is teetering on the brink of disaster.

The very least they are owed is an acknowledgement from within the club that serious problems are being addressed.

Yet Queiroz, like Fergie in the immediate aftermath of the defeat to Benfica, instead insisted there was no crisis at Old Trafford. Despite just one win in their six Group D games, and not a single away win in Europe for two seasons, Queiroz claimed United deserved a place in the knock-out stages.

"In my opinion we didn't deserve to lose again Benfica. What we produced during the game was more then enough not to lose it and go through. I am absolutely convinced about that," he said.

When it was put to Queiroz that United lacked the leadership qualities of a player like Keane, he was utterly dismissive.

"I don't want to comment on that," said Queiroz. "All I will say is we had the right team to beat Benfica. We didn't beat them, but I believe we had the right players there."

If United are to overhaul Chelsea to win the title, they will surely have to win all of their remaining games.

And Queiroz believes that's within their compass.

"We believe we can control what is in our hands and win our games," he said. "Of the 10-point gap that separates us, we can control six of them.

"We can win our game in hand against Wigan and we can hopefully win against Chelsea when we go down to London to play them.

"If we can do that, the gap is only four points and we can make sure we are in the right position to take advantage if Chelsea drop points."
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