Ferguson enjoying United's 'appetising' away days


Alex Ferguson believes it is “appetising” that his Manchester United side are already six points clear having played away against the majority of the Premier League’s difficult teams.

Ferguson, for whom Wayne Rooney is a major doubt and Nemanja Vidic is available for today’s visit of Sunderland, said: “We’ve been to Everton, we’ve beaten Newcastle, we’ve been to the Etihad, we’ve been to Chelsea, Liverpool – it’s quite appetising, that, but we lost to Norwich and that brings you down to earth.”

Half-way point

With three games until the halfway point of the campaign, United have lost 1-0 at Everton and at Norwich City, while beating Chelsea 3-2, Liverpool 2-1, Newcastle United 3-0 and Manchester City 3-2, at those clubs’ grounds.

Sunday’s derby win increased United’s advantage over Roberto Mancini’s side to six points but Ferguson believes this means nothing: “The issue for us now is to make sure we don’t do anything silly, maintain our form and win the games.

“Our situation now is to win another game and if we win that, we try to win the next one. That’s the best way to approach it, not looking at the league table on a Sunday morning and saying: ‘Oh it’s great, six points in the lead.’”

Sunderland fans

United lost last season’s title on the last day when Manchester City’s last-gasp 3-2 win over Queens Park Rangers was cheered by Sunderland fans after Ferguson’s team had finished with a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light.

United now face Martin O’Neill’s team for the first time since then and, though Ferguson denied any notion of revenge following their fans’ reaction, Rooney is keen to win.

“When the fixtures come out I look for three games – City, Liverpool and Everton,” he wrote in his recent book.

“This time I checked the Sunderland game.

“If there is one team that I want to beat this season it will be Sunderland.”

Rooney was ill during the week and when asked about the striker’s availability, Ferguson said: “He’s in the squad, put it that way. He was off for three days this week with sickness.”