Owen frustrated by expectations

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The Independent Football

Manchester United striker Michael Owen scored his third goal of the season in the Carling Cup victory against Barnsley but remains bewildered by what some people expect of him.

Owen found the target in the 59th minute of the 2-0 win with a clinical finish at Oakwell following a ball from Fabio.

Danny Welbeck had earlier put United in the driving seat after five minutes when he headed home a corner from Anderson.

Owen said: "A start and a goal, you can't ask for more than that. It is how people judge me unfortunately.

"I started a game against Bolton and was pretty pleased and thought I played pretty well. Then I looked at the papers and was given a three or four.

"But in this game I played pretty average and scored a goal and I'll probably get seven out of 10.

"I think I deserved a five in this game and seven or eight from the Bolton game."

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: "It was a fantastic goal, he had such quick feet, it was a marvellous finish."

It was a comfortable victory for United even though Gary Neville was red-carded in the 63rd minute for clattering into Adam Hammill.

Ferguson had no quarrel with referee Chris Foy for dismissing Neville and he now faces a three-match ban.

He said: "I've just seen the sending off, and Gary did follow through with the tackle and caught the player.

"It was not high, just above the ankle, but in the present climate I would say that the referee was probably correct."

Ferguson made 11 changes from the side that lost to Liverpool and was pleased with the way his rookies stood up to the challenge.

He added: "Barnsley worked very hard and put in a lot of effort and they had one or two chances after we went down to 10 men.

"But overall I think we deserved to win the game and I'm delighted with the response from the players.

"We didn't play as well as we could of, but we are through and happy with that."

Barnsley lacked a cutting edge as manager Mark Robins agreed. Skipper Stephen Foster headed against the angle of post and crossbar in the first half while Anderson De Silva and Iain Hume also went close.

Robins, the former Old Trafford striker, said: "If you look at the stats we had 17 efforts on goal and you'd be hard pressed to find any side that creates that many chances against a Manchester United side.

"On the downside we haven't taken any and you've got to take your chances. I just felt we were lacking that bit of belief.

"There's more in there for us. There's more in the players, so there are positives."