Sunday 18 March 2018

Rio focused on '11 cup finals' for title glory

RIO FERDINAND claims Manchester United face 11 cup finals in their bid to retain the Premier League title after they moved back within two points of Manchester City.

United made it 22 points from the last 24 on offer with a 3-1 victory at White Hart Lane on Sunday, their toughest fixture on paper until their April 30 showdown with City.

Alex Ferguson's men appear to have the easier build-up to what could well be a title decider at the Etihad Stadium but defender Ferdinand was taking nothing for granted. "All we have ever said is to keep putting points on the board," he said.

"Our last two away games have shown the professionalism in the camp and that has been fantastic. We have to continue that. We have big games coming up. Each game will be like a cup final. I know that's a cliche but it's true."

City have been unable to shake United off and know they may have to keep picking up maximum points to avoid being overtaken by their arch-rivals in the coming weeks.

Ferdinand added: "We have just got to keep winning games. If we do that, we will put pressure on the other teams.

"It is about keeping our own house in order and making sure we remain resilient and keep putting points on the board."

Resilience is something United have shown in abundance to win their last two games, scoring a stoppage-time winner at Norwich before producing a classic smash-and-grab victory yesterday.

"It was a huge win for us because this was one of the games people probably expected us to drop points in," Ferdinand said. "It is tough stadium to play at and Spurs are a very good team now, so we had to come and produce a good performance. I thought our performance was very professional. At half-time, the manager told us to go out and play a bit better than we had done in the first half because we hadn't really played at all.

"It was more or less a backs-to-the-wall display in the first half but we nicked a goal before half-time and set ourselves up for the second half."

That second period witnessed two sublime finishes from Ashley Young, who is back in the sort of sensational form that was the hallmark of his start to life at Old Trafford.

Ferdinand said: "It is fantastic to see Ashley Young back. He has been injured and it takes you a couple of games to get back into the groove. Before his injury, he was flying and now it looks like he is back into form.

"It wasn't just his goals, it was his all-round work ethic. He was helping Patrice (Evra). He was doubling up and helping and, when you have a dangerous player like Aaron Lennon, that is great."

Elsewhere, Frederico Macheda has been fined £15,000 for making homophobic comments on Twitter. The 20-year-old Italian is currently on loan at Queen's Park Rangers.

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