Football: Ravanelli may miss Cup final

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The Independent Online
Middlesbrough's Italian striker Fabrizio Ravanelli is likely to miss the FA Cup final because of the injury he suffered in yesterday's match, his manager, Bryan Robson, said afterwards.

"Fabrizio has torn a hamstring and is very doubtful for the last two League games and FA Cup final," Robson said. "We'll know more tomorrow. This is precisely why we complain about the number of games we are forced to play close together. We have always said players are going to be injured."

Robson added: "I thought the turning point was the second goal which we gave away too quickly after going 3-1 up. But it's still a vital point for us. It brings us closer to those above us and if we win a game then we will go level on points with them and then our better goal difference comes into play."

Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, was glowing in his praise for Middlesbrough's Juninho, but castigated his defence for another slipshod display. "Juninho was the best player on the pitch, absolutely magnificent. I find it amazing he was overlooked when they gave out the players of the year awards," Ferguson said.

"I will give credit to the team for fighting back, there is no doubting our character and determination. But I have to say the defending today has been terrible. It has been in quite a few games recently which has given teams a breather and a lifeline.

"Three against Derby, two at Leicester - we've conceded 23 goals against the bottom seven teams. You don't win games if you defend as bad as that. We can put our finger on some things that are going wrong - and we will try to sort it. When you score three goals at home you should win. It was bad defending and we will try to correct that for Newcastle.

"But credit to the players - they kept going, their attitude and determination was wonderful. When you look at Saturday and again today, there's something there that tells you we're hard to beat, even if we are giving goals away. We were unlucky not to win in the end."

The Boro captain, Nigel Pearson, said: "It's great to get a point but I hope we don't live to rue the fact we were 3-1 up. With four games in eight days we would have settled for a point beforehand, but we're still in with a chance. We possibly need to win both our remaining matches now and it will be tough at Blackburn and Leeds, but the players showed today they can meet the challenge."