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Man Utd 17:30 Liverpool

Ruud too selfish - Ferguson

By James Pearson.   Last Updated: 22/09/02 11:34am

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MANCHESTER UNITED boss Sir Alex Ferguson has hit out at star striker Ruud van Nistelrooy for being too 'selfish' in front of goal when a pass to a team-mate would have been the better option.

The Red Devils have been out of sorts up front so far this season having scored only six times in their opening seven matches, whilst title-rivals Arsenal have hit the back of the net on 17 occasions.

Van Nistelrooy has scored five times this season for United, however three have been in the Champions League and his only two Premiership strikes have both been from the penalty spot.

Despite hitting the winner in Saturday's 1-0 home win over Tottenham Hotspur, the Dutch international ace came under criticism after firing blanks in the side's solitary goal defeats at the hands of Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United.

"Sometimes I think Ruud's a bit too selfish," explained Ferguson. "Obviously he wouldn't have scored 36 goals last season if he hasn't been a wee bit selfish.

"But there are times when he could release the ball better and I've told him that.

"Ruud thinks that if he is not scoring then he is not contributing - and I have spoken to him about that.

"And when he doesn't score he come off angry with himself and he gets himself down.

"Ruud's still only young and if he can add these things to his game then it will turn him into a truly great player."

The former PSV Eindhoven hit-man has himself admitted his form has been off of late, and that comments from the press has been wholly justified.

"I accept the criticism because those critics are right. In the last few weeks I have also felt that I could do better and so I have been trying extra hard to do my absolute best," said van Nistelrooy.

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