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Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008

CLUB WORLD CUP

Ferguson eyes further titles after CWC glory


Staff writer

YOKOHAMA — Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson believes his side can use its Club World Cup victory as a launchpad to success for the rest of the season.

United beat Ecuador's LDU Quito 1-0 in Sunday's final at International Stadium Yokohama to claim its second world title and first in the tournament's current format.

Ferguson knows his players face an uphill struggle to prepare for Friday's Premier League clash with Stoke City, but believes winning the world championship midseason will provide a timely boost for the rest of the campaign.

"I think it will be a good springboard for us," he said. "We have come a long way, and I think it may have been difficult for us to go to Stoke on Friday with a beaten team.

"It's difficult when you go into a big tournament and come back from it, but we have won it and we've done it the right way.

"There will be a bounce at the club, and it gives us a platform to chase the leaders in the league."

United will again have to combat the effects of jet lag on its return from Japan, and Ferguson is wary having seen his side concede two late goals against Gamba Osaka in last week's semifinal.

"I spoke to (goalkeeper) Edwin van der Sar," Ferguson said, "and he said the night before he had had a great sleep, but last night he had a terrible sleep. Everyone is different."

Ferguson also had words of praise for Wayne Rooney, who was named player of the tournament after scoring the match-winning goal on Sunday to add to the two he notched against Gamba.

"I think he was the player of the game, there's no question about that," Ferguson said.

"I think he deserved it. He had two or three great strikes in the first half, and it was a very good performance from him and a magnificent goal he scored."

Ferguson singled out Gamba's Yasuhito Endo as the opposition player who impressed him most, and congratulated the J. League side for finishing third after beating Mexico's Pachuca earlier in the day.

"I watched them tonight again and in the first half they could have scored four or five goals," he said.

"No one in the Quito team tonight had the quality that Endo has got, so I think we have to admire the quality of Gamba."



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