Fergie upbeat on title hopes
Alex Ferguson (AFP Photo)
London - Sir Alex Ferguson believes his Manchester United side have moved on from the shock of elimination from the Champions League and remain on course to retain their Premier League title.
United's 2-0 victory away to Queens Park Rangers on Sunday was their second successive league win since a shock defeat in Basel condemned Ferguson's side to the Europa League.
The win left them two points behind leaders Manchester City after their local rivals beat Arsenal 1-0 later Sunday.
"It was a disappointment (to go out of the Champions League)," United manager Ferguson said after seeing his side dominate proceedings at Loftus Road.
"We have always had to recover. We are not immune to losing a game. Obviously, we don't want to lose big ones but in the nature of our club we put it down as another day in the history of Manchester United.
"We get on with it -- we don't sit and moan about it," added Ferguson, who this year celebrated his 25th anniversary in the Old Trafford hotseat.
"We have to do something about it and I think the players have done that."
With meetings with three struggling teams -- Fulham, Wigan and Blackburn -- to come, Ferguson wants his side to stay in touch at the top before picking up the pace in the title race in the second half of the season.
"The important thing is to be there on New Year's Day," he said. "If you're involved right at the top part then you know (what to do in) the second half of the season, we'll relish that."
A first minute goal from Wayne Rooney sent United on their way to victory before Michael Carrick's 56th minute goal secured all three points against QPR.
Carrick ran 50 metres to score and his all round performance, together with that of midfield partner Phil Jones, drew praise from Ferguson.
"The goal put the game to bed really," he explained. "He did fantastically well. He's been at the top of his game -- I've been really pleased with his performances - and it gave us that control in the middle of the pitch with PJ."
Ferguson added: "He's only 19 years of age, Phil. He's got tremendous potential and he's got great energy, which you saw today.
"He was up and down the pitch, making fantastic runs through the middle. He could've scored two or three himself. He's hit the post and goes through in the first half and the goalkeeper's had a good save."
Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov both returned to the bench after injury with Hernandez appearing as a second half substitute.
And Ferguson said: "It's good to have those two players back and Rafa (da Silva) is training now.
"It's getting a little bit better. Still, obviously, we'd like to have Anderson and (Tom) Cleverley back, of course, and a couple of others. But, in the main, we're pleased with what we've got at the moment."
Rangers manager Neil Warnock indicated he will enter the January transfer market in the search for a new striker.
DJ Campbell returned from injury as a second half substitute but missed a good chance and Warnock is keen to strengthen his forward options, with promoted QPR now just three points above the relegation zone.
"We've struggled scoring goals, so it's good that January's coming," Warnock said.
"We had DJ at Liverpool who hadn't kicked a ball for nine weeks. We've been short of numbers so we'll try and get enough depth in the squad to cover for injuries at both ends of the pitch."