MANCHESTER, England, January 15- Sir Alex Ferguson backed Paul Scholes to prove the critics wrong after the veteran midfielder celebrated his return from retirement with a goal in Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Bolton.
Scholes scored an Old Trafford league goal for the first time since netting against Fulham in February 2009 and his first goal of any sort since scoring against the same opponents in London in August 2010.
Starting a game for the first time in eight months, the 37-year-old former England international showed what his side has been missing during a recent run which saw them lose to Blackburn and Newcastle on their last two league outings.
But his 45th minute opening goal on Saturday — the 103rd of his league career — was a well-timed reminder of Scholes’ ability after some critics questioned Ferguson’s decision to bring him out of retirement.
“He has that instinct for goals that he has had since he was a kid. And he did it again,” said Ferguson. “He popped up when he should have been enjoying it, sitting in central midfield controlling things.
“He has been one of the greatest ever United players. There has been negative stuff said about him this week but when you see that performance, see that quality, you don’t lose that.
“He has been training hard the last few weeks and we took him off at the right time. But he gave us over an hour of real quality, scored a goal and he is back.”
Scholes’ goal was all the more important as Wayne Rooney had missed a penalty midway through the first half, his fourth miss in his last eight attempts from the spot.
Danny Welbeck and Michael Carrick would go on to score second half goals which ensured a comfortable afternoon for United who moved joint top of the Premier League with neighbours City ahead of the leaders’ trip to Wigan on Monday.
Rooney’s penalty miss capped a lacklustre display and Ferguson said: “Wayne had his moments but he can do better.
“I think the missed penalty kick upset him a little bit. But Welbeck did fantastic and it is a good partnership.”
The Rooney penalty error came after official Peter Walton pointed to the spot following a blatant push by Bolton defender Zat Knight on Welbeck.
However, a case could — and was made by Ferguson — that Knight should have been red carded, instead of shown yellow, for denying a goal-scoring opportunity.
“I think it was a sending off,” said Ferguson. “All these inconsistencies from referees, they should be getting more direction from the very top.
“Mike Riley (manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board) should be coming out and saying, ‘This is not allowed, it should be a sending off for two-footed tackles off the ground.’
“He should be making it clear to the referees that it is not acceptable if they change their minds. These are the incidents that confuse everyone.”
Bolton manager Owen Coyle confirmed that his centre-half Gary Cahill has completed a medical and is on the verge of completing his seven million pounds transfer to Chelsea, although Coyle remained upbeat about his side’s chances of avoiding relegation, with a move for USA international defender Tim Ream all but complete.
“We need to help the squad we’ve got and I’d love to get a few players in,” said Coyle
“But I’ve got to tell you, if we don’t get anybody in, the group we have are good enough to stay in the Premier League.
“My young players are getting better week by week. David Ngog, Adam Bgodan, Mark Davies, continue to get better and stand us in good stead for the second half of the season.
“We’d like to bring people in but if we are able to do that and stay in the Premier League then come next summer, Bolton Wanderers will be in the best position they have been in for many, many years.”