Queiroz: Manchester United's title a win for soccer

Jul 24, 2007 - 11:46 AM By Simon Stone Special to PA SportsTicker

Assistant Carlos Queiroz feels that Manchester United did soccer a favor by winning the English Premier League championship last season.

After enduring four-year drought, the Red Devils roared to their 16th title on the strength of some scintillating free-flowing tactics.

With a host of Player of the Year awards, Cristiano Ronaldo was undoubtedly United's star man. But with Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Louis Saha playing major supporting roles at various points of the season, no one could have complained about the entertainment value at Old Trafford.

Manchester's approach under Sir Alex Ferguson was in contrast to the perceived safety-first tactics employed by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Rafael Benitez at Liverpool.

Without mentioning his club's major rivals by name, Queiroz feels in an age where soccer must compete with all major entertainment industries to attract supporters, it is fitting United finished last season on top.

"The Manchester United culture is to win by playing great, creative football," Queiroz said. "It is about winning and entertaining. It has always been like that.

"Sometimes, with so much competition from all the other sports and things like TV, soccer needs to be innovative to keep the title of the best sporting entertainment."

Queiroz's comments will be greeted with a wary smile by the body of United fans, who felt the former Real Madrid coach was behind the decision to abandon the club's traditional all-action 4-4-2 formation a couple of years ago.

"For some time now, the game has moved in one direction," Queiroz said. "The systems and strategies and the general way teams approached the game had become so defensive and cautious. That is why it was so important, not just for Manchester United but for the game as a whole, that we won the championship.

Yet Queiroz's stock has risen over the past 12 months.

A key figure in Ronaldo's decision to remain with the club following the post-World Cup attacks on the brilliant winger, Queiroz has become a father figure to the 22-year-old.

He was also trusted with the task of traveling to Portugal with chief executive David Gill for the lightning May raid that ended with the capture of highly-rated young duo Anderson and Nani.

Clearly, Ferguson is an admirer of Queiroz's coaching abilities and feels comfortable having him around. It is a respect which is mutual.

"The manager is a great believer in playing an entertaining brand of football," Queiroz said. "Of course, we need to have different approaches against teams like Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus. At times we have to be efficient.

"But mainly, Manchester United needs to play with fantasy, imagination and creativity. "We need to produce attacking soccer and be sure when we have the trophies in our hands, it is because we deserve it."

Just three games into the preseason, Ferguson already needs to fiddle about with his plans for the league opener against Reading on August 12.

With Scholes out for at least a month with a knee injury, Owen Hargreaves has yet to play any major part in training, let alone play a match on United's current Far East tour.

With Anderson unable to train with Manchester until it returns to England and unless Hargreaves' condition suddenly improves, Ferguson may find himself turning to Darren Fletcher and John O'Shea to partner with Michael Carrick against the Royals.

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