English Premiership

Utd are 'clutching at straws'

2010-05-03 07:59
Alex Ferguson (AP)
England - Sir Alex Ferguson admits Manchester United are "clutching at straws" in their bid to win the Premier League for a record fourth consecutive time.

But the Old Trafford boss insists his team will push Chelsea all the way after setting up a dramatic last-day shoot-out to decide the destiny of the title.

Portuguese midfielder Nani struck before half-time to seal a comfortable 1-0 win at mid-table Sunderland on Sunday to pull within a point of Carlo Ancelotti's leaders, albeit with a vastly inferior goal difference, ahead of Sunday's final round of fixtures.

United must beat Stoke, who were humbled 7-0 at Stamford Bridge last month, and hope the hugely inconsistent Wigan, who beat Chelsea at home in September, pull off a major shock to deny the Blues a first title in four years.

Ferguson admits it is a highly unlikely scenario as, for the fifth time, the Premier League heads into its final weekend with the title still up for grabs.

The Scot, who wasn't this time indulging in his famed mind games, more just stating facts, said: "All we can do is to win our game next week but we're clutching at straws a little bit."

The towel hasn't yet been thrown in and Ferguson retains some hope of a footballing miracle taking place at the weekend to pave the way to a record 19th top-flight title.

He added: "Wigan are a very good football team and they'll go to Chelsea and have a go so you never know what could happen. It's a crazy game.

"Manchester City did us a favour in beating Chelsea twice this season and Wigan are another neighbour of ours so we'll see."

Ferguson insists United must take care of business against at home to a Stoke side beset by internal dressing-room strife before turning their attention to events at Stamford Bridge, and he added: "The most important thing is for us to win our game and enjoy it.

"We're in front of our own fans, there'll be 76 000 there and we'll play the right way and we'll play with a lot of dignity. You never know what might happen.

"It would be an incredible achievement because I don't think four in a row won't be done again. The fight goes on."

Despite their industry and the seemingly close scoreline, Sunderland were easily beaten, and Ferguson added: "We were bright and created plenty of chances, but a single-goal lead is never a healthy score away from home.

"We got there, that's the important thing, and three points stretches it out until the last day, it keeps the nerves going."

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, the former United skipper who lifted their first Premier League title in 1993, said: "It takes it to the last game but it'd take an almighty crash by Chelsea for United to nip in there at the death.

"I can't see Wigan beating them, it's a big ask. United will keep going right until the end, but Chelsea are strong favourites."

United broke the deadlock on 28 minutes as their weight of pressure finally told at the Stadium of Light.

Ryan Giggs' harmless-looking cross from the left was turned into something altogether more threatening by neat inter-passing from Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher inside Sunderland's box before the ball found its way to Nani, who made no mistake with an angled drive into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

Sunderland defender Michael Turner almost diverted Giggs' cross into his own net shortly afterwards, while the unmarked Berbatov spurned the first of three golden opportunities to secure the points either side of half-time.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Maritzburg floor Ajax

2014-04-18 20:41

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
40 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
19 April 2014
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham, White Hart Lane 13:45
West Ham United v Crystal Palace, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Cardiff City v Stoke City, Cardiff City Stadium 16:00
Newcastle United v Swansea City, St. James' Park 16:00
Aston Villa v Southampton, Villa Park 16:00
Chelsea v Sunderland, Stamford Bridge 18:30
20 April 2014
Norwich City v Liverpool, Carrow Road 13:00
Hull City v Arsenal, The KC Stadium 15:05
Everton v Manchester United, Goodison Park 17:10
21 April 2014
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which team do you think will win the English Premiership?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.