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April 19, 2021

Premiere League: Ferguson upbeat as United extend lead

Sir Alex Ferguson saw his Manchester United team beat Stoke City 2-1 to go clear at the Premier League summit on Tuesday night, and then fired a warning to their title rivals. Goals from Javier Hernandez and Nani, either side of Dean Whitehead’s surprising equaliser at Old Trafford, left the Red Devils three points above second-placed Manchester City – at least for the 24 hours before their local rivals play Arsenal – with a game in hand, according to fifa.com.

The long-serving Ferguson, who turned 69 last week, said history indicated his charges deserve their billing as favourites to win a record 19th English top-flight crown, and pointed to the coming month as a pivotal period. “We’re pleased about that,” said the Scot, quoted by fifa.com, when asked about the league table. “I think we’re going to be in the shake-up. Once you get to the new year it gives you a good guide where you are going to be at the end of the season, and history tells you we play better in the second half and big games are not an issue”.

Javier Hernandez scored his sixth goal of the season – and his third against Stoke – as well as having a hand in Nani’s winner, and Ferguson conceded the Mexican forward will leave him with a selection headache when Rooney recovers from his ankle injury.

Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, paid tribute to his team’s conquerors and had no doubt United had the mental strength to win the title. “They know how to win games and there’s a mentality at the football club,” he said.

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