Fergie seeks reinforcements
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson wants to strengthen his Manchester United side in time for the final match of the United States tour against Milan.
The Scot saw his team beaten 2-1 by Celtic on Thursday and the unfamiliar line-ups have not gone down too well with some of the sponsors and American critics.
Whereas last year United displayed great flair, enhancing their reputation Stateside, they have been criticised by some US pundits for failing to inspire those still unsure of football as top-class entertainment.
Clearly missing their star men, such as Ruud van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo, United have blooded several youngsters and deployed players in unfamiliar positions - Roy Keane at the back and John O'Shea in midfield, for instance.
Ferguson has revealed that Paul Scholes and Mikael Silvestre will link up with the party but van Nistelrooy and Louis Saha will have to wait for the Vodafone Cup at Old Trafford before starting their pre-season campaigns.
Gary and Phil Neville returned to the starting XI for the Philadelphia clash but it was Chris Eagles who made the first impact, in a negative manner. The young midfielder's wild challenge on Alan Thompson resulted in the Celtic wide man being stretchered off with a calf injury.
Chris Sutton took out some retribution with a spiteful revenge mission on Eagles and the United rookie was singled out for some rough treatment in a keenly-fought contest.
"This game had a quicker competitive edge to it than the one against Bayern Munich," said Ferguson afterwards.
"We played some intelligent football and we got some of our key players back, which was important."
Jonathan Spector conceded possession and then fouled Stilian Petrov to allow Sutton to open the scoring from the penalty spot, only for Alan Smith to open his Red Devils account with a firm header from Eagles's corner.
The 70th minute winner was struck by in-form Craig Beattie, who brushed off Keane's challenge to squeeze the ball through the legs of Tim Howard.
Diego Forlan may have sported a new haircut but he still showed his usual profligacy in front of goal, lashing one attempt wide and then failing to effectively control an astute pass by David Jones.