SIR Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United are on course for another surge towards the Barclays Premier League title. Manchester United are, after all, renowned for their form once the Xmas and New Year celebrations are out of the way.
United's win against Stoke City was a gritty performance on Boxing Day, despite leaving it late to take all three points from the Britannia Stadium as Carlos Tevez converted Dimitar Berbatov's cross with seven minutes to play. The win kept Ferguson's reigning champions hot on the heels of Chelsea and Liverpool and the United boss expects his team to be much stronger in the New Year.
"If we could get to New Year's Day a couple of points adrift of the leaders we would be very happy, we expect to kick on. We'll give ourselves a great chance if we get into that position."
Ferguson was impressed with the way his players coped with the demands of playing a fired-up Stoke team just days after returning from winning the Club World Cup in Japan.
"Coming back from Japan we were worried about how it would affect the team but you could see their energy was good. There was no problem with that and they handled it very well,".
Ferguson admitted he was about to replace Tevez with South Korean winger Park Ji-Sung when the Argentine forward made the breakthrough.
"At that point I was saying to myself this could be a draw so I wanted Park on for some width. But Carlos scores important goals and he's come up trumps again."
The only downside of United's day was the absence of Rio Ferdinand. The England defender was forced to pull out just before kick-off with a recurrence of a long-term back injury.
"We have to get to the root of this because he has had this back problem too many times," Ferguson added. He'll be out against Middlesbrough on Monday. I think in maybe 10 days he should be OK.".....Back To Home Page...