Devils’ three makes life hell for Chelsea
Manchester United dominated a stuttering Chelsea to score a deserved 3-1 victory over last season's Premier League and FA Cup Double winners in a lively Community Shield season curtain-raiser at Wembley on Sunday.Updated: Aug 08, 2010, 23:50 IST
Manchester United dominated a stuttering Chelsea to score a deserved 3-1 victory over last season's Premier League and FA Cup Double winners in a lively Community Shield season curtain-raiser at Wembley on Sunday.
Goals from Antonio Valencia after 41 minutes and Javier Hernandez's first for United after 76 gave United control in the third Shield match between the two in the last four seasons.
Dimitar Berbatov, on as a late substitute, lobbed in United's third in stoppage time after a clever pass from Nani which summed up United's slicker passing and movement with the start of the new Premier League campaign just a week away.
Salomon Kalou had pulled one back for Chelsea six minutes from time when Edwin van der Sar, outstanding after a shaky start, could only parry a shot from Daniel Sturridge during a late rally by the champions who have now lost five of their seven pre-season games.
The Community Shield, the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season, is rarely a pointer to the battles to come over the next nine months, but is always a game the competing managers want to win and Sunday's victory gave United manager Alex Ferguson the 45th trophy of his managerial career — the 35th honour he has brought to United at the start of his 25th season as their manager.
The other success of the day was for the Wembley groundstaff who appear to have solved the problems associated with the pitch which has been severely criticised since the stadium re-opened in 2007.
It looked as superb at the end as it did at the start of the afternoon which went United's way for most of the 90 minutes.
England stars booed
Unusually neither team fielded any new signings at kickoff, with Chelsea's main summer import Yossi Benayoun on their bench and United's Mexican striker Hernandez on theirs.
While the players were all totally familiar to the fans, some were far less popular than others.
Four of the England squad who flopped at the World Cup — Chelsea's John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, and United's Wayne Rooney — were all jeered and booed by opposing fans in the eraly stages.
The booing subsided after a while — apart from those directed at the unpopular Cole — because United's fans began to have something to cheer about as former England international Paul Scholes dominated in midfield and, along with Ji-Sung Park, helped United take control of the match.
Scholes should have done better with a skied shot after nine minutes and Rooney went close before setting up their opener after a superb pass from Scholes four minutes before the break.
Valencia took the chance excellently, but there was little joy for Michael Owen, back at Wembley for the first time since he seriously injured his hamstring against Aston Villa in February which ended his slim chances of going to the World Cup.
Ferguson replaced Owen and Rooney at halftime as promised with United fans getting their first glimpse of Hernandez, the 22-year-old Mexican striker tipped as a United star of the future.
He did not disappoint either, doubling the score after 76 minutes, although he was lucky the ball bounced off his face and into the net.
Chelsea rallied in the closing stages after Sturridge and Didier Drogba came on, but the champions, who beat United on penalties to lift the Community Shield last season, failed to impress.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti will want to see them sharpen up next week before they began the defence of their title against West Bromwich Albion.
I knew England would fail: Capello
England coach Fabio Capello has broken cover after a month of intense post-World Cup criticism to concede that he always knew his players were too exhausted to succeed, while telling them they must be mentally tougher in the future. Capello clung onto his job despite England's humiliating 4-1 second-round loss to Germany, although the Italian said he would have understood if the Football Association had terminated his contract.
Now the former Real Madrid and Juventus coach needs to regain the trust of the squad.
“I have confidence in these players — I hope they will have confidence in me," he said ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Hungary.
At his first media briefing since South Africa, Capello flitted between pessimism and optimism when discussing his ability to transform the team before the 2012 European Championship, but started by issuing an apology to fans.
“I know they spent a lot of time and money following England and I'm really sorry,” Capello said in an executive box overlooking the Wembley Stadium pitch.
Thousands of fans flew across the world with high expectations after England's impressive qualifying campaign, but the team managed just two dismal draws and one win before crashing out of the tournament.
Capello has retained just 10 players from that 23-man squad and brought in three uncapped players for Wednesday's friendly — a match the coach feared he wouldn't be around for.
“If the Football Association decided to sack me I would have understood it,” said Capello, who has two years remaining on his contract. “I thought a lot about the situation but I'm a fighter and I've never quit in my career. I always look forward.”