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Van der Sar still shining for Reds
Published : 29 Mar 2010 14:01:36
Bayern Munich coach Louis Van Gaal knows all about the obstacle threatening his chance of a Champions League semi-final against United. When the Dutchman won his only European Cup final in 1995 with Ajax there was a tall 24-year-old charged with keeping AC Milan at bay in Vienna. The goalkeeper who stood between the Italian's coach Fabio Capello and success that May night in the Praterstadion was one Edwin van der Sar. He had just passed his 100th match for the Dutch Masters of that era when he picked up his Champions League medal. Now he has over 700 appearances on his record and his next birthday will be his 40th. On Saturday against Bolton he added two more world class saves to his compilation and continues to justify his decision to accept another 12-month Old Trafford contract. Sir Alex Ferguson praised his elder statesman's contribution at the Reebok. "We had Edwin van der Sar to thank for two fantastic saves before half-time. These are match winning saves," he said. "All the experience helps us in situations like this when we have to win. He is making saves because he has the concentration. He has the composure." Van der Sar conducted a post-match TV interview and insisted United's fitness coach Tony Strudwick was at his side as he paid tribute to Fergie's backroom staff. Tactics "Tony and his team are preparing the players to be the best they are at the moment," said Van der Sar. "Their work in the gym and on the pitch and the tactics of Rene Meulensteen, Mick Phelan and, of course, the boss means it is a delight to still be here." Modest Van der Sar also preferred to add praise for central defender Nemanja Vidic's aerial performance at the Reebok that helped keep the Reds intact. "These games are ideal for someone of Nemanja Vidic's quality," added Edwin. "He is great winning aerial battles. They have Davies and Elmander and big centre-halves they put up front every corner or free-kick. "It is a delight to see Nemanja going for those balls and it is a delight to see him winning them. "Bolton is always like this. It is great to have the first goal because you have something to hang onto. "Even when we got the second we were eager to get more because even at 2-0 they could get a lucky one and with their crowd they are right back in it. So we had to keep going. "The whole team performed the way we expect here at Bolton. "Chelsea's 7-1 win didn't add more pressure. They have scored 12 in four days and that is a lot of goals so maybe goal difference can be decisive. "So we knew we had to score a couple. The main thing was three points and that is hard enough at Bolton." What do you think? Have your say.