Michael Owen has improved as a player since joining United, claims Fergie
Published 11:30 29/09/10 By David McDonnell
Sir Alex Ferguson has told Michael Owen he remains an important player at Manchester United after the striker plundered three goals in two games.
Owen has started just once for United this season, in the 5-2 Carling Cup victory at Scunthorpe, where he scored twice, and revealed his ongoing frustration at not playing enough.
The former England striker came off the bench to secure United a point with a headed goal in Sunday's 2-2 draw at Bolton to remind Fergie of his enduring goalscoring prowess.
And on the eve of United's Champions League tie in Valencia, Fergie said Owen's recent goalscoring heroics had not gone unnoticed and that the 30-year-old forward was not a forgotten man.
"Michael's contribution doesn't go unnoticed," said Fergie. "It was a fantastic goal against Bolton.
"He's fit and his training performances have been terrific ever since he joined us.
"He is a really outstanding footballer and I think he's improved since he came to our club."
Valencia's 11-match unbeaten run at home in Europe shows the scale of the task facing United, who need at least a point after their disappointing 0-0 draw against Rangers at Old Trafford in their Group C opener.
United have won just once away against Spanish opposition in more than 50 years of European football and Fergie said: "It's obviously the hardest place for us to go. Spain has produced cup-winning teams for years and years and you have to recognise that.
"The standard of Spanish football always been very good, so this is a tough game for us. We're all aware of that.
"But that's the great thing about the European Cup, going to face the best teams in Spain and Italy. That's what makes it such a fantastic tournament."