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Premier League

Improving Nani delights Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Portuguese winger Nani is finally coming of age at Manchester United.

The 23-year-old, bought from Sporting Lisbon in 2007 for some £18million, produced a dazzling display as the Red Devils swept aside title rivals Arsenal 3-1 at Emirates Stadium to close the gap on leaders Chelsea down to just one point.

Ferguson had long championed the potential of the pacey wideman, who was for so long under the shadow of compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo.

With some 50 appearances now under his belt, the United boss believes this season could be very special for the Portugal wideman as his side chase a record fourth consecutive league title.

"Nani has settled down now and is getting maturity," Ferguson said on MUTV.

"He has been pretty immature since he came to the club, but you are seeing the development now.

"He is shy boy and you hope games like at Arsenal will give him the confidence to know he is a United player.

"We are all delighted with him.

"It is amazing when you talk to the players, they all think he is fantastic and want him to play.

"Now, we are getting consistency from him now.

"It gives me a massive decision now between Nani and Antonio Valencia."

Despite keeping the pressure on Chelsea, United - who reached the Carling Cup final with victory over rivals City - could again be facing a four-point gap should the leaders, as expected, beat Hull in their rearranged match tomorrow.

The Gunners head to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, by which time the Red Devils will be hoping to have dispatched bottom club Portsmouth at Old Trafford.

While Ferguson accepts his side must focus on their own game, an away win in next weekend's London derby would sit very nicely.

"We will be rooting for Arsenal. We need Chelsea to drop points," he said.

"Now we need to show real consistency to the end of the season."

Park Ji-sung was among the scorers against Arsenal, collecting a through ball before running half the length of the field to slot United's third at the start of the second half.

The Korean maintains the Red Devils can deal with the pressure as the title race hots up.

"We just want to keep winning, to put Chelsea under pressure," said Park on the club's official website, www.manutd.com.

"There is still a long time to go in the league, three months, so we just have to concentrate on our own performances.

"We can deal with the pressure. We will see whether they can."

England striker Wayne Rooney took his tally for the season to 22 with a clinical finish following a quick counter attack, a strike which constituted his 100th goal in the Premier League.

Park believes Rooney can be unplayable at times.

"No-one can stop him these days. He has been unbelievable," the United midfielder said.

"We lost Cristiano Ronaldo, but Wayne has scored a lot of goals and has helped the team a lot.

"It is a brilliant season for him."