Fergie: 15 is good going for Owen
Sir Alex Ferguson has set Michael Owen a target of 15 goals for his debut season at Manchester United. Owen was a surprise capture for a club reeling at the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez from their title-winning squad.
At first, most United fans were seriously underwhelmed by the signing. However, with two goals in three games on the Red Devils' Far East tour so far, Owen has hit the ground running and looks fitter and fresher than at any stage during four seasons at Newcastle United.
Ferguson, though, does intend paying some heed to Owen's past fitness record. The Scot nevertheless expects Owen to figure in 25 games this term. And providing he reaches that figure, Ferguson sees no reason why his new forward should fail to hit the 15-goal mark.
"Michael has scored two already and I hope there are plenty more to come," said the Red Devils manager. "If you look at his record over the years, even the last two years at Newcastle when they were going through a difficult time, he scored one in every two games.
"He is easily capable of reaching that level again. If he plays 25 games for me this season I think we'll get 15 goals."
Ferguson was speaking ahead of tomorrow's encounter with Hangzhou Greentown at the Dragon Stadium, which will conclude another successful trip to Asia that once again highlights how popular United are in this part of the world. The reaction in Korea Republic to Park Ji-sung's arrival was astounding, while United arrived in China to find their team hotel mobbed by supporters today, with high-pitched screams cutting the air every time one of the players ventured into public view.
Little wonder Ferguson is not ruling out the possibility of signing another Chinese player, despite the purchase of Dong Fangzhou now being regarded as a failure.
"United are always searching for talent throughout the world," said Ferguson. "Of course we had Dong for a couple of years.
"He is a good boy, a good professional and he did his very best, but unfortunately it didn't work out for him. However, if we see potential we will bring them to United," he said. "Our search always goes on."