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Leigertwood: United underestimated us

March 9 2005

Mikele Leigertwood

Mikele Leigertwood

Mikele Leigertwood believes Sir Alex Ferguson underestimated his Palace side after the Eagles dented a below strength United's title hopes at Selhurst Park on Saturday, by Stuart Pink.

The United boss rested Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of their Champions League game with AC Milan yesterday (Tuesday) believing that their replacements could still muster a win against the Eagles.

But Ferguson's move back-fired, as the Eagles kept United at bay and earned a goalless draw, which pretty much confirmed the destination of the Premiership title will not be heading towards Old Trafford in May.

Leigertwood said: "I think they did underestimate us, but it was better for us really if they're going to look at us like that and we've just got to take advantage of whatever they did."

The 22-year-old admitted his side did get a boost when they saw the United team sheet before the game, with all the notable absentees.

Leigertwood said: "Well that's it, they might not have made a difference, but full credit to the lads, they all dug in and everyone was on top of their game today which was good."

The former Wimbledon man was one of a number of Palace players who put on outstanding displays against United, which shows how far the centre-back turned centre midfielder has come this season as he more than matched United captain Roy Keane in the middle of the park.

Leigertwood said: "It's good to play up against big name players, high profile players like that and do alright against them, that's good for me and I'm buzzing at the moment.

"It was a good performance from everybody really, we dug in there as we had a man sent off, but everyone dug in and we got a good result against a good team."

Even after Vassilis Lakis' sending off, the Palace rearguard remained resolute and hard to breakdown, only limiting United to two clear chances in front of goal.

Leigertwood said: "It was hard with 10 men especially when they brought on Ronaldo and Scholes, their more experienced players.

"Their runs in behind were difficult to track, especially when they've got 11 men, it was hard but we stuck in there and got on with it."

That precious point only leaves Palace two points off the relegation zone after Southampton's win against Spurs, but Leigertwood hopes both sides keep picking up points so other teams above can get dragged into the relegation dogfight.

Leigertwood said: "It was a good result for us not to lose, obviously with Southampton winning it has kept the pressure on us, so hopefully we can try and suck someone else down, maybe by getting a good result against Chelsea."

Before next Saturday's game at Stamford Bridge, the Eagles will be spending five days in Cyprus as part of their warm weather conditioning to prepare for the season's run-in.

Leigertwood added: "It's a bit of a break.

"We've had a busy period recently so we'll just go there and, I wouldn't say put our feet up, we'll just go and unwind a bit and prepare for the Chelsea game next week.

"It will be good to get away with the lads, a break from the norm."

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