News24

Utd are 'clutching at straws'

2010-05-03 07:59

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.

AFP

Comments
  • Simonm - 2010-05-03 09:25

    Sir. Alex, how do you expect other teams to beat Chelsea (so you can win the league) while you could't beat them by yourself!!!!

  • Harold - 2010-05-03 09:30

    What a gutless perfromance from Liverpool yesterday. United should not be expecting favours from the scousers but there was more passion from the home team at Sunderland than at Anfield. A once proud club now find their ambitions are directed to putting the skids under their rivals as apposed to actually winning something themselves. I know what their fans will be doing on Thursday evenings next season.

  • MandiJ - 2010-05-03 09:37

    Against stoke, we'll play the right way and we'll play with a lot of dignity. Chelsea might crash, you never know what might happen, its a crazy game this..

  • Shankly's Kin - 2010-05-03 11:11

    Screw you Harold. Our guys played their hearts out on Thursday night, extra time too!! After that game, the season was over for me, and probably for them too. It was always an outside chance we'd make 4, so the players were not motivated, and tired too. LFC would never lose on purpose, even if it means denying MUFC the lead in English titles. Besides, this is football. Anything can happen. Look at us. Who'd think we'd be a mid table team this year? Just keep your fingers crossed next weekend, and wear all your lucky charms, and you might get your wish. LOL!

  • jnr123 - 2010-05-03 11:15

    This season is for CHELSEA... we going for a double..

  • AJ - 2010-05-03 11:37

    @Shankly's Kin: Me! I thought you guys would be mid table this season! And again, shows how unfit the Liverpool players are if they can't manage to play in all those games! Anyway, even if Liverpool had Torres and all their players fresh and challenging for the title let alone 4th spot, they would have still got thrashed by Chelsea!

  • MALOUDA - 2010-05-03 11:52

    Well said Simon .. thats the problem with the United supporters .. when they dont win something .. always pushing the blame elsewhere (SORE LOOSERS I SAY) LFC played with heart and something to remember, every game cant be won .. and in any case if United were the powerfull team their supporters claim they would have been on top already and not wait for a loose from Chelsea .. Remember Chelsea have been on top the entire season except for the two weeks United were LUCKY to even smell 1st place ... Watch LFC next season united!~!!

  • bigred - 2010-05-03 12:11

    Liverpool's performance was a disgrace, and Gerrard's back-pass ighly suspect. An FA investigation into the scousers should be on the cards

  • Never Walk Alone - 2010-05-03 14:06

    @ Big Red - Gerrards pass was PERFECT ! Made it harder for MU to win the league. If MU are as great as all their fans think - then you should be good enough to win this without any ones help - but hey - did you really think the scousers were going to gift it to you ??????????????????????? MU have been playing catch up to CFC the whole season - it's Chelseas to loose - and if they are dumb enough to drop it next week - then you perhaps can have cause to celebrate !!

  • GeePMB - 2010-05-03 14:47

    What game was the writer watching? "Comfortable win" is was not. If anything it was a very uncomfortable display of football. United thought that they just had to turn up and Sunderland would lie down and let them run riot. At least 4 goals were sqaundered by a ruffled United team and Sunderland came close a couple of times to equalising. Frankly it is unlikely that Chelski will lose on Saturday and Fergie will rue some of his poor management in the middle and latter stages of the comeptition.

  • YashDawg - 2010-05-03 15:02

    LOL @ all United Fans blaming Liverpool...FFS, fight your own battles!!! The best thing about ManU not winning the title this year, will be to shut up all their obnoxious fans (for a while at least!)

  • AL @ MALOUDA - 2010-05-03 15:15

    Funny how the worms start creeping out the woodwork!!!! Where were you last season, and before that, and, and.................Please don`t think because you `might` have won this season that you are now all powerful. Bottom line is, if you have a problem - throw money at it until it`s fixed.

  • john - 2010-05-03 15:19

    I just want to remind manunitrd supporters that they lost both of their games against Chelsea so how can they blame Liverpool. Face it Chelsea are better than MAN UNITED THIS YEAR AND DESERVE THE TITLE.

  • john - 2010-05-03 15:19

    I just want to remind manunitrd supporters that they lost both of their games against Chelsea so how can they blame Liverpool. Face it Chelsea are better than MAN UNITED THIS YEAR AND DESERVE THE TITLE.

  • TD - 2010-05-03 16:06

    Yes John Chelsea actually beat the other "big 3" home and away this season which Man U couldnt and so Chelsea do deserve the title

  • chelsea boy!!!!!!!@AL - 2010-05-03 17:29

    you again?! questioning peoples support???from behind a pc...damn son,i wonder if you have become a M.U.S.T member yet or you still wondering what that is...grow up already...give credit where its due,chelsea are the team this season...the performances say so...united where very lack-lustre and need some bolstering up...just like livertool.now go play with a football,maybe you'll learn some appreciation for the game

  • Roman - 2010-05-03 17:54

    @MALOUDA, Cheslea wouldn't win the League, Abramovich will, it could have being any other club that he bought and pumped in the cash and bought the trophies. Now don't tell me Man Utd also got money, its their own money blood, sweat and history.

  • RedDevilFan - 2010-05-03 18:06

    Everyone seems to missing the fact that at the start of the season man utd played without first string keeper and used both second and third string keepers and they still managed more clean sheets then any other EPL team.Then mid season man utd was injury ridden. They only had one true defender and they still managed to keep up with Chelsea. So the better team is man utd.

  • ManutdFan - 2010-05-03 18:09

    Everyone seems to missing the fact that at the start of the season man utd played without first string keeper and used both second and third string keepers and they still managed more clean sheets then any other EPL team.Then mid season man utd was injury ridden. They only had one true defender and they still managed to keep up with Chelsea. So the better team is man utd even though Chelsea was the stronger team.

  • Andrew - 2010-05-03 21:08

    Reading all the tripe here has me mystified, I dont see ANY united fans blaming Liverpool!!!!!!!!!!!! what are you lot on??? We lost the title at Blackburn, simple as that and although anything can happen, I cant see Chelsea losing against Wigan!! United have done great considering that they lost 2 QUALITY players, imagine Liverpool without Gerrard and Torres, relegated i reckon!!!

  • Rico - 2010-05-03 21:28

    Chelsea boy...learn your history without your daddys money you would still be the crap mediocre team you have always been......you have no home grown players...never developed a player ....and want to compare yourselves to Utd.....you have to grow pubic hairs first .....utd were winning trophies when you Dennis Wise the little midget as your main man....you seem to have forgotten your limited trophies........wanna a champions league trophy.......grow some heart.......tosser

  • Bob - 2010-05-04 01:55

    Ooh there are a lot of bitter Utd fans on here, you sad bast....s, you have all season to win the league, don't go blaming injuries, Liverpool FC, bad luck, gee over the years you have been the luckiest side ever, you've won more games deep in, or I should say past injury time it's unbelievable, from a Liverpool fan well done Chelsea if you win the Premiership, if you win it you must deserve it.

  • coco - 2010-05-04 09:07

    All I want to say is goodluck to both teams, I dnt see United winning the League so well Done to Chelsea . Just remember The Drogba goal! It was Offsides,but the REf Did not see it and thats the way the game goes. and U cant go on about that game. As for liverpool , fire your manager\coach and then you will do beta. Oh last thing .Come on you spurs. Europe Here we come..

  • AJ - 2010-05-04 09:56

    Amazing how all the Liverpool supporters are glory hunting and have found Chelsea to leach off! Why you don't some of you numskulls stop basking in Chelsea's glory and go play hide and go F$#k yourselves! Your relegation battlles are around the corner so until then, stop jumping up and down like Chelsea wannabees!

  • TRUE Red - 2010-05-04 09:57

    RedDevilFan - you forgot all those own goals scored for Utd early in the season - you guy's were losing or drawing many games & somehow the other team scored an own goal to give you at least a point, sometimes 3 - you guy's wouldn't even be challenging Chelski if it wasn't for that, and yes, it's part of the game, but happenned way too much for "lucky lucky Man U" - the Blues do deserve THIS title IMHO, finish & klaar. Andrew - you don't have to imagine - Stevie, when he wasn't injured, wasn't even there, and we hardly seen Torres as well again this season

  • CHELSEA BOY!!!!!! - 2010-05-04 10:56

    blah blah blah,history smistory and any other excuses you girls can find...the point is...CHELSEA HAMMERED YOU THIS SEASON,in every aspect...2010 belongs to the Blues...and that dear "rico" you'll find in the history books next year,d**s.

  • rico - 2010-05-04 13:32

    chelsea boy ...big boy behind a computer...tosser..........pls tell me u r in cape town........

  • Chelsea boy@rico - 2010-05-04 14:22

    im in cape town meathead... now what...your gonna use your pokemon powers to root me out..? must be lonely being the only meathead in cape town...no wonder you have so much anger in you... now lets have it.....UP THE BLUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!UP THE BLUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UP THE BLUES!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chelsea boy@rico - 2010-05-04 14:23

    im in cape town meathead... now what...your gonna use your pokemon powers to root me out..? must be lonely being the only meathead in cape town...no wonder you have so much anger in you... now lets have it.....UP THE BLUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!UP THE BLUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UP THE BLUES!!!!!!!!!!!

  • rico - 2010-05-04 15:08

    typical chelsea tosser.....step up ..very easy ...just add your adress to your next message and you can say it to my face.......but we all know that wont happen.....because you are a big wind bag ...just like your team

  • chelsea boy@rico - 2010-05-04 15:54

    16 ocean view road...easy to spot,big blue gates...ill be home at about 7...wear your united shirt,ill wear mine...and lets see if we can get the same result our teams did,one where i slap 7 shades of shiiite out of you...twice!!!!!!!!!

  • little one xXx - 2010-05-04 15:56

    CHELSEA BOY...you say that Chelsea have hammered us this year...if that was the case you would have already won the league...not leaving it down to the last game of the season...Come on Wigan...and you never know we could have the same battering over Stoke as your guys did! So less of the 'we hammered you' yada yada!!!

  • little one xXx - 2010-05-04 17:30

    CHELSEA BOY...you say that Chelsea have hammered us this year...if that was the case you would have already won the league...not leaving it down to the last game of the season...Come on Wigan...and you never know we could have the same battering over Stoke as your guys did! So less of the 'we hammered you' yada yada!!!

  • little one xXx - 2010-05-04 17:30

    CHELSEA BOY...you say that Chelsea have hammered us this year...if that was the case you would have already won the league...not leaving it down to the last game of the season...Come on Wigan...and you never know we could have the same battering over Stoke as your guys did! So less of the 'we hammered you' yada yada!!!

  • rico - 2010-05-05 09:17

    chelsea boy....come tosser...add the suburb...or to chicken

  • chelsea boy@rico - 2010-05-05 09:22

    no show last night rico...shame...wind bag.

  • chelsea boy - 2010-05-05 11:37

    what you want this on a plate? your from cape town...and your asking me where ocean view road is...maybe im giving you more credit than you deserve by calling you a meat head...maybe idiot is more applicable

  • AL @ rico - 2010-05-05 12:04

    Damn dude, I wish I was in Cape Town to join you on a fun filled evening of `beat the crap out of chealsea boy`. @ chelsea boy, you say "united where very lack-lustre and need some bolstering " but they are only one point behind with the last game coming up so it really doesnt say much for your team does it? @ TRUE red, own goals can only be scored from inside your own box with constant pressure from the attack. If the goals weren`t scored by the own team, they would have probably been hammered in by UTD anyway. Poor excuse.

  • ShAyA - 2010-05-05 12:58

    @ AL>>dude get over yourself, the own goal was just that, an own goal...WTF is up with the conspiracy theories cos it won't change the obvious that UTD girls aint taking shyt

  • chelsea boy @al - 2010-05-05 13:47

    Al...last year your team swept everyone aside,this year,you stumbled...it was supposed to be a reds war this year,both reds failed,instead we saw the rise of the underdog.(spurs,villa etc) chelsea where not favourites to take anything this year...(im not saying its in the bag,the title,but come on,at home last game...chances are its ours)...but considering the injuries and players missing from our squad...both united and livertool need some work...asap.your teams lacked in critical areas by huge margins...united with only one striker...no-one would have said it was a possiblity a year ago...come on admit...by uniteds standards...you guys have fallen short.allowing us a gap,which we have taken,new coach and all... that fair enough a comment???

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