Premier League – What the managers said

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Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle can do him a favour when they play Chelsea on Monday.

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Manchester United 4-1 West Ham

Sir Alex Ferguson: “The way Chelsea have been talking is that it’ll be easy up there – but we know that’s not the case. Look at Dean Ashton. He was a United fan as a kid but scored a goal which could kill our hopes … There is no excuse [for Nani‘s headbutt]. He showed a measure of immaturity and we will deal with it … Cristiano has had a fantastic season and he develops all the time. There was a terrible tackle on him but he keeps getting up and playing with courage and you’ve got to applaud that.”

Alan Curbishley refused to speak to the press as a protest against suggestions in the press he would rather Manchester United win the league than Chelsea.

Fulham 2-0 Birmingham City

Roy Hodgson: “We are one step closer. It was the game we had to win and I thought we did it in some style in front of our own crowd and that’s very, very encouraging. We have got a very important game at Portsmouth next week and I am delighted we are going there with a chance of staying up, but I must warn against too much jubilation and euphoria. We have had two important victories, but we have still got an even more important victory to take.”

Alex McLeish: “I felt we had good chances in the first half and there was certainly no panic when we got to half-time goalless. I thought we were pretty comfortable. We shot ourselves in the foot, with the second goal especially, caught by a mistake when we were going for it. We needed to defend well, especially at set pieces, and unfortunately for us the first goal from Brian McBride was from a Fulham free-kick.”

Reading 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Steve Coppell: “Tottenham were unbelievable and we found it almost impossible to contain them. They’ve massively under-achieved this season in the league, and we struggled to match their quality. We’ve been fully aware all season of the trouble we could be – and now are – in, but there’s no point looking back. We know what we’ve got to do next week now – we have to win.”

Gus Poyet: “I think we played a great game. It was always going to be difficult because of what Reading are playing for, but I’m very pleased with our performance. We kept the ball well, created chances and kept a clean sheet. We totally deserved the win, although it’s obviously frustrating when you dominate a match so much and only score one goal.”

Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Sunderland

Gary Megson: “I can’t ask any more of them in terms of every game they have played and the effort they have put in. We can play better because results haven’t been enough to get us into a position where we hope a club like this could be, but in terms of where we were to where we are I can’t complain at all. We haven’t played brilliantly this afternoon but we play with our hearts on our sleeve and give everything we’ve got.”

Roy Keane: “You know what you are going to get against Bolton and you have to deal with it, we are a passing team but we didn’t do that. You’re always playing for your future and we reminded the players of that. In the bigger picture we’ve managed to stay in the Premier League but we need improvement next season.”

Aston Villa 0-2 Wigan Athletic

Martin O’Neill: “It would be hard to explain why we were so flat for so long. We had been coming into the game with loads of confidence and playing brilliantly of late. I can understand the first 15 or 20 minutes being a bit tentative. After that I thought we would settle down and get into a bit of fluency but it never materialised.”

Steve Bruce: “To get 31 points since the turn of the year is fantastic for the players. I’m delighted we’ve managed to do it and do it in some style against Villa who have been playing well. I’m sure the fans are delighted seeing a little town like Wigan year after year staying in the Premier League.”

Middlesbrough 2-0 Portsmouth

Gareth Southgate: “We can look forward to next season now. The players will be delighted and I’m sure this experience will make them all the stronger for next season. It’s a tough division. We have maintained our status in it for almost 10 years which is an achievement.

Harry Redknapp: “They’ve scored from a set piece and we’ve come in at half time and said what’s the point of having markers if they don’t mark? Then they’ve done the exact same thing in the second half. The players have got to play well if they want to play in the Cup final. It was disappointing today, very disappointing.”

Blackburn Rovers 3-1 Derby County

Mark Hughes: “We’ve never been out of the top 10 all season and I think for a club of our size that is a huge achievement. It was really important we finished the season on a high. Overall it has been a good conclusion to our home campaign and hopefully we can go to Birmingham and come away with what we need.”

Paul Jewell: “It would have been nice to have got six points from our last two games but we all know on the form we’ve shown this season it wasn’t going to happen. The important thing now is trying to build for next season. There has to be a whole culture change. We have to be mentally stronger as well as physically stronger and that’s what we have to do between now and June 27.”

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