Ferguson lauds Obertan, American fans
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson heaped praise on Gabriel Obertan after the winger steered his side to their second successive pre-season tour victory. The 21-year-old capped an impressive all-round display by hitting the only goal against Philadelphia Union in the 76th minute at Lincoln Financial Field.
The strike was Obertan's first in United's colours since joining from Bordeaux last year. The Frenchman's debut season at Old Trafford was marred by injury, but he looked full of running against the Union and broke the stiff resistance of the Major League Soccer outfit with a neat finish after being played in by teenage striker Danny Welbeck.
"Goals always help players of course, and when they are forwards in particular," said Ferguson. "There is a goal in Gabby, there is no question of that.
"The best aspect of his goal was his run, the timing of his run, and the timing of the pass and the weight of the pass. It made it a really good goal. He has taken it well."
Ferguson started the match with a youthful line-up. In addition to both Welbeck and Obertan, the 68-year-old Scot put his faith in Jonny Evans, Fabio, Federico Macheda and Tom Cleverley.
Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes added some experience to proceedings, and Ferguson called on Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher in the second half in a bid to break down a stubborn Union side.
The inclusion of the Bulgarian almost brought a second goal, but the 29-year-old forward was unfortunate to see his late effort smack the underside of the crossbar. Ferguson was nevertheless pleased that his side were able to build on their 3-1 victory over Celtic in their opening tour match on Friday.
"You need pre-season games, they are absolutely essential," he said. "You need them to get your timing and rhythm and your breathing right. It was the sort of game we probably needed. The Union were really powerful and aggressive, got to the ball quickly and made it difficult for us. They had a few shots on goal. They were better than I expected.
"We increased the tempo in the second half and did a little better then. It was a good game for us. They were very good opponents, I thought they did really well."
It was United's first visit to the stadium since 2004 and the match had the feel of a cup tie thanks to an enthusiastic crowd of 44,213. "There was a more United atmosphere for us tonight," Ferguson said.
"In the six years since we were last here there is more appreciation of the game from the fans in what is happening on the field. It is an indication of the progress there is in American football."