Ferguson and Houllier praise brilliant Dudek

CARDIFF: Gerard Houllier and Alex Ferguson were united in their praise for Jerzy Dudek after the Liverpool goalkeeper buried the memory of the worst day of his career with a match-winning performance in the English League Cup final. 

Dudek, whose errors had gifted Manchester United victory when the two sides met in the Premier League in December, produced a string of saves which laid the foundations for Liverpool’s 2-0 victory. 

“Their goalkeeper has won them the tie,” Ferguson said. “You just have to put your hands up on these occasions – Dudek has won them the Cup and he deserved to be Man of the Match.” 

Houllier was also full of praise for Dudek, whose collapse in form was a major factor in the end-of-year slump which pulled the rug from under his side’s Premier League and Champions League campaigns. 

“It shows how football is. You are rock bottom and the next day you are a hero. But Jerzy’s attitude during all of this has also been spot on.” 

Dudek’s dramatic loss of form cost him his place in the Liverpool side but the serious knee injury suffered by his replacement Chris Kirkland gave him the chance to re-establish himself and he looked back to his best on Sunday. 

The saves which frustrated Paul Scholes and Ruud van Nistelrooy as United piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser will have gone some way towards eradicating the memory of Dudek’s nightmare at Anfield in December, when he allowed a passback to slip through his arms and then his legs to gift Diego Forlan a goal. 

Houllier revealed that Dudek had sought out Kirkland immediately after the match in what he described as an indication of the spirit which had helped the Polish international come through his ordeal. 

“He needed to have the support of everyone and we’ve got a squad who get on well with each other. 

“There was no finger pointing. It is just a matter of keeping faith with people.” – AFP 

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