United give Ferguson perfect anniversary gift


Mon, Nov 06, 2006 - Page 20

Manchester United gave Sir Alex Ferguson the perfect anniversary president on Saturday as they moved three points clear of Chelsea at the top of the English Premiership with a convincing 3-0 win over Portsmouth.

Louis Saha, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nemanja Vidic scored United's goals to move them on to 28 points, three better than Chelsea, who were to play at Tottenham Hotspur yesterday.

Ferguson celebrates his 20th anniversary as United manager today and the Scot said he was delighted with the first three months of the season.

"We have had a fantastic start," he said. "Historically, we don't always have good starts. We have made one this year and we need to take advantage of it."

"I have to be honest and say there is a confidence about the place that suggests we are now in a position to pull out all the stops and go for it," he said.

Saha put United ahead on four minutes with a penalty after Dejan Stefanovic had tripped Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo then rifled in a free kick to make it 2-0 after just 10 minutes.

Defender Vidic completed the scoring with the third on 66 minutes, heading past David James, who prevented a heavier defeat with a good display.

Third-placed Bolton Wanderers suffered a shock defeat when they were beaten 1-0 at home by Wigan Athletic, while Dirk Kuyt scored twice as Liverpool beat Reading 2-0.

Fulham edged out Everton 1-0 at Craven Cottage, while Charlton heaped more pressure on Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce after a 1-0 win over his side.