Belfast Telegraph

Ferguson happy to extend lead

Sir Alex Ferguson watched Manchester United cruise four points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League at Wolves and can now put his feet up and await Manchester City's response.

United's 5-0 win not only extended their lead over City, it also cut deep into the Blues' goal difference advantage, which now stands at just three. Roberto Mancini's men now play twice before United are in action again, following up Wednesday's encounter with resurgent Chelsea before visiting Stoke next Saturday.

"They (City) have a big game on Wednesday of course," said Ferguson. "Chelsea are back to form so it will be really interesting. The important thing was for us to do our job. There are nine games left and we have to keep whittling them down. Eventually the games run out and hopefully we will achieve what we want."

United were never in trouble once Wolves had suffered the twin trauma of conceding the opening goal to Jonny Evans - his first for the Red Devils - and losing Ronald Zubar, who was sent off for the second of two bookable offences.

Antonio Valencia drove in an excellent second and Danny Welbeck added another before the break, with Javier Hernandez netting twice after half-time. The United boss heaped praise on Valencia, who was somehow overlooked for the man-of-the-match prize in favour of Wayne Rooney.

Valencia had been in outstanding form before suffering a hamstring injury against Ajax last month. The Ecuador wide-man appears to have picked up where he left off.

"He could be very important," said Ferguson. "His form before he got the injury was outstanding. Now he is back we hope he stays back fit. He is such an honest, hard working player. You get two sides to Antonio. He is prepared to work really hard. He can tackle, he can run, but he can also beat a man. He has got everything really."

Caretaker boss Terry Connor believes he is still the right man to spearhead Wolves' survival fight. He said: "The message to the players and to everyone is: 'Keep believing'. We've got nine more games to play, we've got Norwich next week, Bolton the week after, we're on 22 points, the same as Wigan and QPR. We're not out of it.

"We are looking forward to trying to make sure next week we are competitive again, to try and take something from the Norwich game and then, to get enough points to get above that dotted line.

"Has this defeat weakened my resolve? No, I said to the players I'm more determined than ever. Everyone will be writing us off again and we've gone to the bottom of the table but we've been in this situations before.''


From Belfast Telegraph