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Monday 19 March 2012

Ferguson: Valencia crucial in title race

Man Utd manager praises winger's display in 5-0 victory over Wolves

Ecuadorian winger Antonio Valencia joined Manchester United from Wigan Athletic in 2009

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes winger Antonio Valencia could be vital in the club's attempt to win this season's Barclays Premier League.

The 26-year-old has been out since 16th February after suffering a hamstring injury against Ajax but returned to the side in the 5-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

Valencia produced an impressive display at Molineux, scoring one goal and setting up two others as Manchester United went four points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.

And with only nine matches left to go this season, Ferguson says the Ecuadorian could be a crucial player during the run-in.

"I expect it to go to the wire, always hope for the best and expect the worst"
- Sir Alex Ferguson

"He could be very important," said Ferguson. "His form before he got the injury was outstanding.

"Now he is back we hope he stays back fit. He is such an honest, hardworking player.

"You get two sides to Antonio. He is prepared to work really hard. He can tackle, he can run, but he can also beat a man. He has got everything really."

Ferguson's side have played one more match than rivals City, who take on Roberto Di Matteo's Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

City then play Stoke on Saturday while United are not in action until 26 March when they face Fulham.

"They (City) have a big game on Wednesday of course," added Ferguson. "Chelsea are back to form so it will be really interesting. The important thing was for us to do our job.

"I expect it to go to the wire, always hope for the best and expect the worst.

"There are only nine games left now, it is just a matter of games getting cut off one by one and hopefully we achieve what we want to achieve."

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Key Points

  • Antonio Valencia was in impressive form for Man Utd against Wolves
  • Sir Alex Ferguson says winger could be vital as Man Utd try to win title
  • Valencia is back in action after straining hamstring against Ajax in Europe