Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was in god spirits following his side’s 1-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
“It's an excellent result for us and I'm very pleased with that. They've had a great home record over the years and that's a really important result for us. It's a good position, we're pleased. It was a fantastic, battling performance," said Ferguson.
United put themselves 9 points clear with the victory, after title rivals Manchester City drew 2-2 with Liverpool at home on Sunday afternoon.
Wayne Rooney scored United’s winner in the 79th minute of the game. However, Ferguson praised his defence and said he was pleased with the team’s performance:
"When you look at our performance, you saw players who were prepared to put their body on the line.
"We blocked shots, had great headers out of the defence, it was a really determined effort by the players and we still played our football into the bargain."
In team news, United midfielder Michael Carrick has been ruled out of contention for a start in Roy Hodgson’s England line-up that will host Brazil in an international friendly fixture this Wednesday, after suffering an ankle injury.
Centre-back Rio Ferdinand is confident of signing a new contract with United - the 34 told The Sun:
“Of course I would want to stay, 100 per cent. I don’t expect to be treated any different to the other older players like Giggsy or Scholesy."
Meanwhile Wayne Rooney has been singing the praises of his England and United teammate Danny Welbeck. The Red Devils frontman spoke in glowing terms of his younger teammate who has, at times, struggled to force his way into Ferguson’s team this season.
"Danny has been out wide a lot this season. He works hard and brings a lot of energy to the team. He is a great player and his time will come when he gets that run up front. Then I am sure then he will score goals."
Despite United’s 9-point lead at the top of the Premier League, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini still believes his City’s Blues can retain the title this term. However, he did admit that his team would likely have to go unbeaten for the remainder of the season.
"This championship is not over, absolutely not. There is still time for a team to make a mistake. We probably now need to win all of our 13 games, but if not 11 or 12."
After United’s victory this weekend, Fulham boss Martin Jol stated his belief that Red devils’ striker Robin van Persie is the ‘main man’. The Dutch coach conceded,
"Van Persie is the main man. He sets them up with little flicks and combination football and he also scores the most goals.”
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has expressed his eagerness to make his Old Trafford return when the Spanish champions visit United for their Champion’s League knockout round clash later this month.
The former United favourite insisted that Manchester feels like home,
"Manchester was my home and it still holds a special place in my heart. When people treat you really well, you never forget it."
Ronaldo’s teammate Raphael Varane gave manager Jose Mourinho a scare after he suffered a knock that has forced him to come off the field with a hamstring injury in France’s 1-0 defeat to Grenada last weekend.
However, the defender is expected to return in time to face United in mid-February.
In transfer news, the Daily Star claim that United are set to ‘miss out’ on transfer target Robert Lewandowski as the Borussia Dortmund striker is understood to be headed for Bayern Munich in the summer, with reports of a deal having already been agreed.
Here Is The City's sports editor has assessed whether Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, thought to be another of United’s transfer targets this summer, is actually worth the reported £9 million fee United are expected to bid for him.
Elsewhere, United youngster Bebe has been impressing away on loan at Rio Ave. He put in a strong performance in the Portuguese side’s shock 2-1 victory over Sporting Lisbon.
Meanwhile, large wagers have reportedly been bet on United veteran Paul Scholes taking over the vacant managerial position at Oldham Athletic. The 38-year-old is a ‘life-long Oldham fan’ and will likely hang up his boots at United at the end of this season.
In other news, United have announced their summer tour plans adding Kitchee FC to their list of opponents. United will travel to Hong Kong for the game scheduled for the 29th January 2013, following their training camp stay in Sydney.
Finally, former United academy graduate Danny Simpson, now contracted to Newcastle United was involved in a ‘brawl’ outside a nightclub which left him bleeding and unconscious in the early hours of Sunday morning. He is understood to be recovering in a stable condition.
image: © marcel sigg