Utd rediscover ruthless edge
England - Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his Premier League rivals that Manchester United have rediscovered their ruthless streak after Tuesday's 5-0 hammering of West Brom took the champions three points clear of closest rivals Liverpool.
Goals from Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez, Nemanja Vidic and two from Cristiano Ronaldo completed an emphatic rout of bottom club West Brom, whose flickering hopes were snuffed out with the 40th minute dismissal of captain Paul Robinson for a late challenge on South Korean midfielder Park Ji-Sung.
But with United now clear of the pack and with goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar breaking his Chelsea counterpart Petr Cech's shut-out record by taking his run without conceding a goal to 1,032 minutes, Ferguson insisted that his team are now back to their destructive best.
He said: "We have shown a real ruthless streak on Tuesday night which has maybe not been there this season.
"We always expected it to come simply because of the forwards we have, but Tuesday night was the first indication that it is there. Hopefully we will start to motor now. We have good form, which is important, but March and April are the key months.
"Even Cristiano scored in the league again and I actually said to him, 'Oh, you're scoring again. That's very good of you!' But he is delighted to have got himself back on the scoresheet."
United's recent surge up the table, on the back of eleven successive clean sheets and seven league wins on the bounce, has been largely down to their defensive record.
And Ferguson paid tribute to Dutch keeper Van der Sar, who can break the all-time Football League record, currently held by former Reading goalkeeper Steve De'Ath, if he surpasses the 1,103 minute record set by De'Ath in 1978-79, when United face Everton at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Ferguson said: "Edwin has achieved everything in the game, but he is as delighted in the dressing room as he was after his penalty save against Chelsea in the Champions League final in Moscow last season.
"Despite his achievements and experience, he still has that competitive streak and it shows with his record."
Ferguson insisted that Robinson was 'careless and reckless' with the challenge that resulted in his dismissal and West Brom manager Tony Mowbray refused to criticise referee Rob Styles for his decision to send his player off five minutes before half-time following his challenge on Park.
It appeared a debatable decision and Albion could yet appeal, but Mowbray insisted it would be futile to criticise the referee.
Mowbray said: "I'd prefer not to talk about the referee. Managers get in trouble talking about the referees, so what's the point? He has given the decision and we have to abide by it.
"Did it change the game? We might not have lost by so many, but I don't think it would have changed the result because they have got so much quality all over the pitch.
"It's all about opinions. Some people will say it was a red, others say it was a disgraceful challenge. If it was just an honest collision between two players, then I'm sure we will appeal it, but that's something we will decide on Wednesday."