Tue, Nov 28, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Mourinho happier than Ferguson after 1-1 draw

AP , MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Chelsea's Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho, center, heads Chelsea's goal against Manchester United during their English Premiership soccer match at Old Trafford, Manchester, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

Manchester United's lead over Chelsea is down to virtually nothing -- at least if you believe Jose Mourinho.

The Chelsea manager was content that his team's 1-1 draw on Sunday at Old Trafford stopped the Red Devils from going six points ahead, and instead kept his team within three points of the Premier League leaders.

"It's a weekend. It's a game," said Mourinho, who has guided the Blues to lopsided league title triumphs in each of the last two seasons. "We know in the second period of the season, Man United has to go to Arsenal, to Chelsea and to Liverpool. They will have a difficult time."

United has 35 points from 14 games, while Chelsea has 32. Bolton, which beat Arsenal 3-1 Saturday, is in third place with 24 points.

Cristiano Ronaldo had an early chance to score, but his dipping, 30m free kick was pushed over the bar by goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.

Still, United took the lead when Ryan Giggs fed the ball through to Wayne Rooney from inside his own half and the England striker quickly passed to Saha. The France striker pushed the ball to his left and guided a low, left-footed shot that flicked off the inside of the post.

Chelsea nearly equalized before halftime but United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar blocked a powerful 20m shot from Geremi and then dived to his right to hold a low drive from Frank Lampard.

It should have been 2-0 four minutes after halftime, however, when Rooney got past Didier Drogba on the left and both Saha and Ronaldo failed to turn his cross home from close range.

Instead it was 1-1 in the 69th when Michael Essien's shot was deflected for a corner on the right and Lampard's floated cross was firmly met by Carvalho at the far post. Saha tried to clear it with his head but instead deflected the ball into the roof of the net.

Also on Sunday, Portsmouth missed a chance to move into third place after losing to Newcastle 1-0.

Antoine Sibierski scored the lone goal in the 69th minute for Newcastle's first win in 10 league games. Portsmouth stayed fourth.

Tottenham beat Wigan 3-1 with goals from Jermain Defoe, Dimitar Berbatov and Aaron Lennon.

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