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Monday 12 March 2012

Ferguson praises Man Utd spirit

Manager credits players after United go top of Barclays Premier League

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney has now scored 26 goals in all competitions this season

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has praised the character of his players after his side went top of the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.

United are now one point clear after their 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, while Manchester City were defeated by Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.

"I am happy to be top because only a few weeks ago we were seven points behind Manchester City," said Ferguson.

"That is credit to the players and the resilience of the squad because as everyone knows, we have had a lot of injuries."

"If Wayne gets to 40 goals I will be absolutely delighted because we will be in business then"
- Sir Alex Ferguson

United are aiming to secure their 13th Premier League title and Ferguson believes the club's experience of going through the tense run-in will play a significant role between now and May.

"We have that experience and it does help, there’s no question about that," added Ferguson.

"We won't get nervous and we showed that against West Brom. We kept playing our football, even when we were only winning 1-0 and the fans were calling for us to get another goal.

"We just kept on playing and it’s good to see that kind of temperament."

Ferguson also praised striker Wayne Rooney, who is now on 26 goals in all competitions this season after scoring both goals in the victory over West Brom.

And Ferguson says if Rooney can reach 40 goals, United will not be far off the title.

"Wayne is on a hot streak," said Ferguson. "I thought his first goal might have been offside because he was so clear but when you see his timing of the run it was fantastic.

"If Wayne gets to 40 goals I will be absolutely delighted because we will be in business then."

"I think that this championship maybe will be decided three games from the end"
- Roberto Mancini

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was keeping a philosophical outlook after his side followed up the Europa League defeat against Sporting by losing against Swansea.

"It's been difficult the last four days for me, but football is this - sometimes you can lose," he said.

"Now it's important that we are very confident together because it changes nothing. It is better to stay on the top and now we are behind, but this doesn't change our targets."

And Mancini stated his belief that the destination of the Barclays Premier League title this season will be determined by the crunch Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on April 30th.

"I think that this championship maybe will be decided three games from the end," he added.

"The season is long. What's happened [on Sunday] can happen also to United in the next game and we can go again on the top. It will change nothing."

Manchester United travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers for their next League fixture on March 18th while Manchester City host Chelsea on March 21st.

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Key Points

  • Sir Alex Ferguson praises players after Man Utd go top of the League table
  • United defeated West Brom while Man City lost to Swansea
  • City boss Roberto Mancini believes Manchester derby will decide title