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Ferguson welcomes back key duo

By Football News



Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson praised Wayne Rooney and Darren Fletcher after the pair returned from injury against Newcastle.

England forward Rooney was making his first appearance since sustaining a serious leg gash during a Premier League win over Fulham in August.

And Scotland international Fletcher captained United in his first start since November 2011, after taking a prolonged break to treat a bowel condition.

United ran out 2-1 winners in the League Cup match at Old Trafford, booking a clash with Chelsea in the fourth round.

Ferguson told Sky Sports: "Fletcher and Rooney were both excellent. Wayne tired a bit towards the end, but that was to be expected and they have done really well.

"I'm very pleased first of all to win an all-Premier League division tie and then because Newcastle had a stronger team than us physically but we played some fantastic football and I think we deserved the victory.

"We want to progress as far as we can in the competition and we'll do our best to do that. Winning is always important at this club."

Ferguson was impressed by a young United defence, which included England Under-19 international Michael Keane.

"The young defenders did their best. It was obviously difficult as (Shola) Ameobi is a big lad, a handful," he said.

"Then they brought Cisse on, who is one of the best players at the club and has a lot of experience. It was a compliment to us that they did that and I think we handled it quite well."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was pleased to see Papiss Cisse get on the scoresheet.

The Senegal striker also hit the crossbar with an acrobatic attempt, and Pardew hopes Cisse will carry some confidence from his performance into Saturday's Premier League match at Reading.

"It just shows you, I thought that a goal would change the whole look of that player because that's what they do to strikers. It's set him up for Saturday (away to Reading)," Pardew said.

"We were pressing, we had Papiss on the sideline and if we could get him on there at 1-0 he's always going to get a chance and, if he gets, it he'll score. The overhead kick was magnificent - a highlight of the evening for me."