Alex Ferguson lauds Manchester United defence

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson heaped praise on his defence after 10-man Manchester United continued their remarkable run against Tottenham.

A goalless draw at White Hart Lane yesterday sent unbeaten United back to the top of the Premier League on goal difference and stretched their remarkable run of dominance over Tottenham to 24 matches.

It was May 2001 when Tottenham last tasted victory against United and Ferguson insists it was his back four who ensured that run continued.

Ferguson said: "We defended very well, they never gave us any trouble with their attacking.

"The kind of pressure we were under were just long balls into the box really. With (Rio) Ferdinand and (Nemanja) Vidic as your centre-backs you know you can cope with that. They were fantastic.

"The whole back four did really, really well. In the context of Tottenham's home record this season and the performances they have given, we have got to take it as a good point for us."

The one sour note for United was the sending off of fullback Rafael for two bookable offences. The second one on Benoit Assou-Ekotto looked a harsh decision by referee Mike Dean.

A clearly angry Ferguson said: "I'm not going to discuss it. It's not worth discussing because everyone can see that. It's out of my bounds now."

The draw means United remain nine points ahead of Tottenham, who are fifth, one point behind Chelsea in the race for the Champions League places.

Ferguson, however, insists the title race is tight and any one from five could still have a chance of lifting the trophy in May.

He said: "I think there are five teams all contesting it, all have chances and it makes it interesting for neutrals. We've come through a difficult away game, our record here is great of course, but it doesn't apply because we still have to get a result. I think the result was fair.

"We didn't bother them too much, we had one or two good opportunities at times when we got to the last third of the field but we just didn't quite have the cutting edge.

"In the second half Anderson attacked the back four four times and maybe his selection of pass or a shot on goal would have been better."

The match was Ryan Giggs' 600th league appearance for United and Ferguson said of the veteran Welshman: "He's an incredible human being and an example to anyone that wants to use him as a role model."

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