MAN UNITED GO FIVE POINTS CLEAR
Manchester United moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League after two superb late goals from Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young gave them a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Blackburn at Ewood Park on Monday night.
It looked like being a frustrating night for United, who dominated for long periods but failed to get closer than an early Javier Hernandez shot that struck a post.
David de Gea was also required to make a succession of excellent saves to repel Blackburn counter-attacks before United finally made their own pressure tell in the closing stages.
With just under 10 minutes remaining, Valencia broke the deadlock when he drilled a shot past Paul Robinson from a tight angle after darting into the box from the right.
Young then added a second with a neat finish from the edge of the box to seal the win which gives United a five-point gap over nearest challengers Manchester City.
The result also saw Rovers drop back into the bottom three behind QPR on goal difference.
After the game Sir Alex Ferguson denied his side had now taken a decisive lead in the title race.
"We've still got seven games left. In my experience of these situations, it doesn't matter what the points are at the moment," he told Sky Sports 1.
"It matters about next Sunday's game."
The Scot admitted his team were made to work hard by a hard-working Rovers side.
"It was a long night. We had to persevere and persevere. We got our rewards," he said.
"We weren't making any clear-cut chances for a long time.
"But it was an important win and it typifies the history of the club."
Young branded the victory as "massive" in the title race.
"I think this was a massive game for us. We knew if we won we would go five points clear," Young told Sky Sports 1.
"It was a great result, a great performance.
"It's crucial time in season. Everyone knows that.
"To get that goal, we knew it would come at some point, whether it was a shot or cross it went in the back of the net."
Valencia capped another impressive performance with a memorable goal, but asked whether it was a cross or shot, he joked: "It was 50-50."
Rovers boss Steve Kean believes they showed enough to suggest they are capable of avoiding the drop.
"If we can play at that standard for next seven games - not for 80 mins but 90 - we'll get plenty of wins," he said.
"We've got to take all the positives out of the first 80 minutes. We've got to set that standard.
"We were playing against the potential champions.
"I think for 80 minutes we gave it a really good go. Their goalkeeper has had a very good night. He's made good saves when we've had our little opportunities.
"I thought (Junior) Hoilett and Yakubu caused them problems."
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