Manchester United 5 Portsmouth 0: Grant still pining for John Terry

08 February 2010 12:41
On a day of spectacular own goals at Old Trafford, talk soon turned to John Terry and the England captain's own self-inflicted loss.

What would Avram Grant give to have seen his old Chelsea skipper halting Manchester United's procession instead of helping them put the ball in the net?

Terry missed the penalty against United that cost Chelsea the 2008 Champions League in Moscow and, ultimately, Grant his job.

It's that man again: Wayne Rooney takes advantage of hesitant goalkeeping by David James to head United in front and spark a rout

But Pompey's embattled boss prefers to remember the man whogalvanised the Stamford Bridge dressing room for him, following JoseMourinho's departure, in a way that marked him out as a leader of hisclub and, until Friday, his country as well.

'He will still be a leader because that's what he is,' said Grant. 'Sometimes you don't need the armband to lead a team.'

Terry's successor, Rio Ferdinand, was once again confined to thestands by a four-game ban and is believed to be considering dropping anappeal set for Friday to spare the FA and Fabio Capello anyembarrassment.

Leader: John Terry led Chelsea to a 2-0 win over Arsenal on Sunday

Ferdinand's England and United team-mate Michael Carrick has nodoubt Capello has chosen the right man for the job and is confident thechange of captaincy will not create problems within the national squad.

'Rio's a terrific leader and a world class player,' said Carrick.'He's done it here for a number of years, he's done it in the ChampionsLeague final, so it certainly won't faze him. He has the respect of theplayers.'

Carrick had a hand in one of three goals credited to Portsmouthplayers that helped United ease to victory on the 52nd anniversary ofthe Munich air disaster, his shot from the edge of the area taking ahefty deflection off Richard Hughes and flying over David James.

Nani had already seen his cross turned in by the hapless AnthonyVanden Borre and Marc Wilson scored the best of the lot, volleyingPatrice Evra's ball into the box past his own goalkeeper.

More lamentable defending by the Premier League's bottom club gaveDimitar Berbatov the time and space to demonstrate his shooting skills- after who else but Wayne Rooney had got things going before half-time.

It was Rooney's 12th goal in 15 games against Pompey for Evertonand United. More importantly, his 23rd of an outstanding campaign meanshe has matched his best haul with a third of the season to go.

Evra summed up the transformation in the striker, saying: 'He knowshe needs to score a lot of goals because Cristiano Ronaldo has gone.He's changed his mentality - he wants to be a killer.'

Rooney's goal and all-round performance gave Pompey's Hassan Yebda aworrying glimpse of what to expect when Algeria face England in theWorld Cup this summer.

Yebda said: 'It's OK that he scores now, as long as he doesn't scoreagainst Algeria. When he scored the first goal it was finished becauseUnited played unbelievably.'

Few top-flight clubs have fallen into such a wretched state asPompey, but Grant insists he will stay to the bitter end despite thebroken promises, player upheaval and ownership chaos.

He said: 'I had a choice: to say, "It's not what they promised meand I'm going" - and I don't think one person could blame me for that.But I decided I would do my best to keep this club up.'

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Source: Daily_Mail