Ferguson's Rossi relief
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson was dying to hand Giuseppe Rossi his Premiership debut.
Sir Alex Ferguson revealed he has been dying to play Giuseppe Rossi at first team level after the Italian prodigy marked his Premiership debut with a goal in the 3-1 win at Sunderland.
The Manchester United boss threw on the New Jersey-born starlet in place of Ruud van Nistelrooy after the Dutchman had put United 2-0 ahead but it needed a deflected strike from Rossi to make the points safe after Stephen Elliott pulled one back.
Ferguson also enthused about the performances of man-of-the-match Wayne Rooney, who opened the scoring, and full debutant Phil Bardsley, who was tenacious at full back.
"I don't think Wayne needs to answer the critics," he told Sky Sports News. "The boy wants to enjoy his football and he's allowed to do that at this club.
"Young Bardsley, without question, is an exceptional talent. He's now 20-21 and was unfortunate last year to be out for a year with injury.
"He is determined and his perseverance in training helped in that respect. He has great confidence in himself and I wasn't concerned about giving him his debut.
"Rossi is a marvellous talent. You saw that today. He's scored lots of goals for the reserves and I've been dying for the opportunity to get him on the pitch, to be honest, quite a few times now.
"We need to get him ensconced in playing in the first team. I know we've got great options up front, but he has the talent for scoring goals and, when you get a player like that, you have to give him opportunities."
Ferguson paid tribute to Sunderland, who made life more than difficult for the visitors.
"Sunderland played very well in the first half today," he stated. "They didn't get any joy for it but put us under a lot of pressure. They play at a lively pace and that's the strength of them.
"I always worry when players have been away on international duty and we never got going and were fortunate to be winning at half time. It was from one of only two or three moves we had in the first half. But there was some excellent football in the second half and we could have been four or five ahead.
"There was some terrific movement and passing but you worry if you're going to finish the opponents off. When Ruud scored, I thought it was an opportunity to bring on the young lads but Sunderland scored and gave us a nail-biter for a few minutes.
"Edwin made another great save to keep them out and we went up the park and scored. He's in fantastic form for us. He's a marvellous pro and an influence in the dressing room. It's very obvious he's a fantastic signing for us and today he proved his worth again."