Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson predicts tightest finish
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is predicting the tightest finish in Premier League history.
He saw Wayne Rooney score twice as his side defeated Fulham 3-0 on Sunday to move two points clear of Chelsea and Arsenal at the top of the table.
“At the moment it is looking like the tightest Premier League we have had,” said Ferguson. “It is very tight.
“We only have eight games left. Chelsea have nine. We are all involved in Europe. Chelsea also have the FA Cup.”
The Premier League title has been decided by a one-point margin on three occasions, with Blackburn pipping United in 1994/95, Arsenal edging out the Red Devils in 1997/98 and United gaining revenge on their London rivals the following season.
There can only be one winner and I think it is going to be us
Man Utd striker Dimitar Berbatov
Ferguson’s side, whose next two Premier League home games are against Liverpool and Chelsea, have a superior goal difference over the Blues and the Gunners, although Chelsea have a game in hand on their rivals.
“You have to think about goal difference,” added Ferguson. “We are only four goals ahead of Chelsea, I wish it was 14 to be honest, but at least it is in our advantage.
“I suppose the simple way for us and Chelsea to look at it is just to win all our games but life is never that simple.”
United striker Dimitar Berbatov was excellent against Fulham and is confident his club will seal their fourth straight Premier League title.
“There can only be one winner and I think it is going to be us,” stated the Bulgaria international.
“Arsenal and Chelsea are great teams and we have difficult games ahead of us but the good thing is we play at home at Old Trafford against Chelsea and that will be an advantage for us.
“I am optimistic that in the end we will be champions.”
Fulham managed to reach the interval on level terms but Rooney scored the first of his brace 30 seconds after the restart, while Berbatov found the net with a late header.
Ferguson felt his team’s increased tempo after the break, combined with a goal in the first minute of the second half, was crucial.
“I think Fulham, with their possession, made us work hard and chase around a bit,” said Ferguson.
“It was hard to get the ball off them. They have experienced players who are comfortable on the ball.
“We had to try to increase the pace of the game and hurry them up a bit but the most important thing about that start with Rooney’s first goal was it put their team on the back foot and gave us momentum.”
Fulham were hoping to do the league double over United for the first time following their 3-0 victory at Craven Cottage in December.
However, manager Roy Hodgson had no complaints with the result – although he felt the 3-0 margin of victory flattered the home team.
“I cannot complain that we lost but the two late goals that aggravated the scoreline were perhaps the biggest disappointment for me,” commented Hodgson.
“Over 90 minutes, United were the best team but we made a good fist of playing against them.
“Wayne Rooney was outstanding, as was strike partner Dimitar Berbatov – their work was very good.”
Modest Rooney happy with second half
Rooney’s goal took his tally for the season to 32, with 24 of them in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old is now 10 behind the total set by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007/2008.
But Rooney explained: “If I am being honest, getting to 42 goals wouldn’t mean a lot to me.
“It is not something I have looked at. Obviously, it is nice to score goals. I want to score goals in every game and what Cristiano Ronaldo achieved was unbelievable.
“But I am a different player and a different person. I am not comparing myself to Cristiano.”
Fulham play the second leg of their Europa Leg tie against Juventus on Thursday and take on Tottenham in an FA Cup quarter-final replay on 24 March.
“We must pick ourselves up and try to prepare for these very important games that we have coming up,” added Hodgson.