CHARGE:Time to turn the screw
Man Utd vs Fulham 20:30 SS3
MANCHESTER Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United should be applauded for still being in the title race but has told his players to ram home their advantage against Fulham on Monday.
For the first time since the start of the campaign, Ferguson’s squad is almost at full strength as United enter the final run of matches.
His defence has been hit particularly hard, with Nemanja Vidic missing the majority of the campaign through injury.
Phil Jones could return from illness against the Cottagers on Monday but Ferguson could still be without as many as six of his first-team squad.
Even so, a victory over Martin Jol’s side would see United open up a crucial three-point lead over Manchester City, held 1-1 at Stoke on Saturday.
Ferguson must also be comforted by the fact that, after the Fulham game, United face Blackburn, QPR, Wigan, Aston Villa and Everton before heading to City for the third last game of the season on April 30.
Despite having taken United to a record of 19 titles, Ferguson feels that if his squad were to hold off City, this one would represent one of the most impressive achievements and he hopes that his group’s experience will count.
“I have to congratulate the players on achieving the position we are in because of the injuries we have had,” he said.
“It’s not been a great season for us in terms of injuries. The players have shown resilience and we are in the position we are now because of that.
“Now we are starting to get players back and we hope they stay back because it does strengthen our chances.
United have beaten the Cottagers in their last seven matches at Old Trafford, dating back to the Londoners’ victory in 2003.
Fulham manager Martin Jol admits he would struggle to separate United and City but believes the current champions have a slight edge.