Thursday, March 08, 2007

Larsson to play last United game against Middlesbrough


Henrik Larsson has confirmed he will sign off for Manchester United at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Saturday, despite Sir Alex Ferguson being short of strikers.

Larsson was on target in his final game at Old Trafford in the second leg of United's last-16 Champions League clash with Lille, heading home a 72nd-minute Cristiano Ronaldo cross to hand the Red Devils a 2-0 win on aggregate.

But with the 35-year-old Swede returning to Helsingborgs as planned, Ferguson will be left with just one recognised frontman, Wayne Rooney, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Louis Saha both face time on the sidelines.

Larsson said: "It has been great but we said all along that March 12 was the thing. The Swedish season starts on April 1 and it doesn't give them much time to get a replacement striker. I am very proud to have been part of this team but unfortunately I will be going home."

While Ferguson admitted that he was disappointed that Larsson would be leaving, he felt that there was little that could change his mind.

The Scot said: "He has been a credit to himself. His dedication to his job has never changed and it has been a real joy to have him. We would love him to stay but obviously he has made his promise to his family and Helsingborgs and I think we should respect that - but I would do anything to keep him."

Despite seeing his men claim their place in the last eight of the Champions League, Ferguson was left cursing his luck as defender Mikael Silvestre was added to the list of United's walking wounded.

Silvestre was carried off on a stretcher with a suspected dislocated shoulder and the United boss added: "It is not looking good for Mikael at all. At first we thought he had broken his arm but now it seems it is a dislocation.

"It is another big blow for us because in the space of a week, we have lost five players. Louis will be missing for four weeks, although with hamstrings you can never be sure exactly how long they will be out.

"Ole will not be available until March 31, Darren Fletcher is out for two months and now Henrik is leaving us. It has been a bad week, apart from the results."

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