Sir Alex Ferguson admits he is delighted with Manchester United’s durability after his side moved to the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Bolton.
Last season’s English and European champions have had a slow start to the campaign but since they returned from winning the Club World Cup in Japan, Ferguson’s team have won five straight league matches.
That run has erased the seven-point advantage Liverpool held over them just a month ago. United’s victory at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday not only edged them above the Reds – ahead of their match at home to Everton on Monday – but also equalled Chelsea’s record of 10 straight clean sheets in the Premier League.
Having built a reputation for attacking football last season, it was United’s seventh 1-0 victory in the league this season and Ferguson believes it is a significant indicator about his team’s mentality.
He said: “It means that the concentration is good. You have to keep good concentration in the game and I think we’re doing that very well.
“I thought we played well. Bolton are a very difficult team to play against and in a local derby you’re always happy to win the match but we left it very, very late.
“I don’t think it’s decisive but it’s always nice and it’s the best place to be, there’s no question about that.
“Liverpool have a game against Everton on Monday and even though it’s for two days, we can reflect on a very good period for us.
“With December and going to Japan and the difficult games we’ve had recently the lads have done well.”
Even though United now face a League Cup semi-final second leg against Derby County and an FA Cup game against Tottenham this week, Ferguson insists he has no problems with taking a break from the league.
He added: “The semi-final isn’t a bad thing for the club and I’ll play a lot of the young players on Tuesday. Then we’ve got the FA Cup on Saturday against Tottenham.
“Hopefully by the Everton game I’ll have a few players back.”
They had to wait until the final minute for Dimitar Berbatov to head in from Carlos Tevez’s cross and seal the points at Bolton.
And Wanderers manager Gary Megson admits that Ferguson’s men are now firm favourites to retain the title.
He said: “They usually come good in the second half of the season and Chelsea have done well too but that’s what good teams do.
“They keep going, they trust the way that they play but whoever does finish above United, if they do, will win it.”
Megson’s team have now failed to score in four matches and he accepts that is an area that has to improve if Bolton are to pull away from relegation trouble.
He added: “The club has never scored a huge number of goals. We were doing well up until five or six games ago but we’ve not done as well goal-scoring wise as we would have liked.
“I did think we would hold out. The way the game was going it was looking like if we did get anything it’d be a 0-0 because they were pressing for most of the game and definitely until the end.
“It was a really poor decision defensively for that goal and that sticks in the throat a little bit.
“It was an important goal but it wasn’t a fantastic goal, it was particularly poor.”
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