You can cross off another one Mr Ferguson. The marathon is fast approaching the finish line, the winning post looms large and Manchester United still holds a good enough lead that should win Sir Alex another title. Despite the Premier League being his major target, it was obvious that Ferguson had one eye fixed firmly on Tuesday’s second leg Champions League clash with Chelsea as he made changes to his starting line up then threw on the subs as the three points were safely wrapped up.
“It was an important win. At this time of the season, that’s the name of the game,” Ferguson told Sky Sports. While the United boss did not believe his side had played well, at least they had ground out the victory. “We were a bit wasteful with our possession of the ball in the second half,” he said. “We had great opportunities to add to the goals of course but we didn’t take them and then you’re left to hang on a little bit towards the end. But we got through in an important win and with six games left, we carry on.”
Manchester United 2 v Fulham 0
The Guardian – Sir Alex Ferguson appealed for the famous fighting spirit to see Manchester United through the crucial games that remain. However, there was really no need for it against Fulham, who were about as convincing as their new statue and, perhaps, not quite as frightening. United are now 10 points clear with six games to play and, like this match, the title race no longer appears much of a contest.
This was more like a lap of honour – an undemanding stroll in the sun in front of warmly appreciative supporters in their shirt-sleeves. United have not won anything yet, though it certainly feels as though the league is in the bag. Despite making eight changes from his Champions League line-up, and playing with only one up front, Ferguson still saw his side collect the points while barely breaking sweat. Full Report
The Telegraph – Dimitar Berbatov pressed his claims to maintain Manchester United’s Treble bid in the absence of the suspended Wayne Rooney by putting the league leaders on course for victory against Fulham at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson’s team moved ten points clear of second-placed Arsenal, who face Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Sunday, by cruising to the three points against Mark Hughes’s team.
With Antonio Valencia scoring the second before half-time, United were able to conserve energies ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea. And they also proved they can cope without Rooney, who will also miss next Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley. Berbatov may be United’s club record signing following his £30.75m arrival from Tottenham in Sept 2008, but the Bulgarian continues to struggle to claim a regular starting place in Ferguson’s team. Full Report
Manchester Evening News – There was no Grand National glory for Sir Alex Ferguson but Manchester United continue to power their own way towards the Premier League title. First-half strikes from Dimitar Berbatov – his 22nd of the season – and Antonio Valencia with his first since August allowed United to surge 10 points clear of nearest challengers Arsenal. And, if they can keep a steady course over the final six hurdles, United will achieve what Ferguson’s Aintree hopeful What A Friend was unable to and finish ahead of the chasing pack.
In a football sense at least, it must be quite nice being Ferguson at the minute. Robbed of Wayne Rooney’s services for a couple of games thanks, in his eyes, to some unjust treatment from the Football Association, the United boss could just pluck another striker from his impressive roster. In this instance it was the Premier League’s top scorer and a man who bagged five in one game earlier this season. Berbatov had only started one league game since that dismal defeat at Wolves over two months ago, the equally miserable loss at Liverpool. Full Report
Manchester United – Kuszczak, O’Shea (Fabio, 77), Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Nani (Carrick 87), Scholes, Valencia (Owen, 73), Gibson, Berbatov GOALS: Berbatov 12m, Valencia 32m
Fulham – Schwarzer, Salcido, Hangeland, Baird, Hughes, Murphy (Greening 82), Etuhu (Gera 68), Dempsey, Kakuta, Zamora, Dembele (Gudjohnsen 56)