Ferguson tips Anderson to up goal tally

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The Independent Football

Anderson's stunning free-kick goal against Boca Juniors yesterday could be just what he needs to begin scoring with regularity this season, according to Manchester United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

It has taken the Brazilian midfielder over two years to finally open his account for United but Ferguson believes the floodgates may well now open.

"We hope this will spark him off and give him the incentive to be more positive with shooting for a start," said Ferguson.

"He has been with us for two years, as you know, and had many close opportunities with goalies saving or shots hitting the post.

"Hopefully his luck changes and he takes the incentive of scoring today to go on and score more for us."

Anderson curled in a fine left-footed free-kick from just outside the penalty area to give United the lead in a match they eventually won 2-1 with Antonio Valencia scoring on his debut.

In the past, Cristiano Ronaldo would probably have taken that set-piece and his sale to Real Madrid could be Anderson's chance to get more opportunities with a dead ball around the penalty area.

Just as long as Anderson is on the field, Ferguson admitted he is one of the options for free-kicks and penalties.

"I have been thinking about this for two weeks now and I have no definite answer to it," he said.

"I think it depends on what 11 players are playing in a particular game. I think we have two or three players who are natural to take responsibility.

"(Patrice) Evra, (Michael) Carrick, Anderson and (Ryan) Giggs are all natural choices to take penalty kicks, but when I choose my 11 on a particular day, then I will make my mind up on that day."

The chances are Anderson will be figuring more often this season following Ronaldo's departure.

Ferguson says he, as well as Nani, has the "right platform and right training environment" and that the 2009-10 season could be when they come of age.

"They are young and when you are young and have the ambition, then that can happen," said the Scot.

"I expect to see that improvement and have no fears about Anderson and Nani.

"They are young boys with young minds playing at the highest level of football."