Lord Coe backs Ferguson to coach Olympics team

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The Independent Online

Lord Coe yesterday went public with his backing for Sir Alex Ferguson to manage the Great Britain team at the 2012 Olympics. Coe, the chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, confirmed holding informal discussions with the Manchester United manager but did not divulge whether the Scot was interested.

"I would love to see Alex coach the team," Lord Coe said. "I can't think of anybody that frankly [more] deserves at the end of a stunning career to be in charge of young players here. I've spoken to Alex. We know each other. We're good friends."

The Chelsea fan's attempt to land Ferguson first came to light two months ago, at which time United expressed a relaxed attitude about the approach. Ferguson was thought to be intrigued but reluctant to accept if it interfered with his duties at Old Trafford.

The concept of a British team, which last entered the Olympic qualifying tournament with an amateur side in 1972, is controversial. Both the Scottish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales are opposed to it, with the former indicating they will attempt to block Scottish players from being picked to play.

United's Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, has won the Player of the Season and the Golden Boot awards. The 23-year-old, with a Premier League title medal in the bag and a Champions League final meeting with Chelsea to come, scored 31 goals in 34 League appearances. He also topped the list of dribbles and runs, with 131.

That put the Portuguese player at the top of the Premier League scoring charts – and according to Opta Sportsdata statistics, those goals came from 131 shots on target, followed by Fernando Torres of Liverpool, Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor, Blackburn's Roque Santa Cruz and Ayegbeni Yakubu, who moved from Middlesbrough to Everton during the season.

The United team scored 80 Premier League goals from 547 shots on goal. Their shot accuracy of 48 per cent was the best in the division. Their passes, however, totalled 14,026, some way behind best passers, Arsenal, who made 15,672.

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