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Ferguson praise for Nistelrooy

Manchester: Alex Ferguson believes Ruud van Nistelrooy is key to Manchester United’s chances of overtaking Arsenal in the Premier League.

The striker has scored 35 times for United in all competitions this season and grabbed the important away goal in the 1-3 Champions League defeat by Real Madrid on Tuesday.

“Ruud is improving in every department. You can’t believe how much improvement he has made,” Ferguson told reporters on Friday.

“There were two great players on the pitch on Tuesday; he was one and Raul was the other. The two performances for forward players were absolutely outstanding.”

Ferguson has attempted to lift United by telling them they were not outclassed by Real Madrid.

“They have taken part in one fantastic game of football. For a 10-minute period in the first half they were a little bit mesmerised with some of the football they played.

“A lot of it didn’t hurt us but it was marvellous to watch. We have looked at the video of the game and in terms of the attacking part we did very well. We controlled some periods of the match, in fact the first two goals were on the counter-attack.

“The nature of European football is that your concentration has to be 100 per cent. You can’t afford to make mistakes and we were disappointed with the first two goals.”

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