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We can handle pressure - Ferguson

Berbatov grabbed the winner that keeps Man Utd well clear in the table
Berbatov grabbed the winner that keeps Man Utd well clear in the table

Sir Alex Ferguson said pressure would not affect Manchester United's title run-in after a 2-1 win at Newcastle.

Ferguson saw his side restore their seven-point lead in the table with Wednesday's victory, after wins for Liverpool and Chelsea on Tuesday.

"The teams who play first and get a result will always say 'pressure on' but it doesn't make much difference to us," he said.

"You have to rely on and trust the players. It is nothing new to them."

Peter Lovenkrands stopped the clock on Edwin van der Sar's run without conceding a Premier League goal on 1,311 minutes after the Dutchman's fumble presented him with a simple chance.

It's vital that we put on that type of performance right through to the end of the season

Newcastle caretaker boss Chris Hughton

But Ferguson believes his side's response, with goals from Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov, revealed their hunger for more silverware remains as keen as ever.

"It wasn't a great performance. We got off to a terrible start, and Newcastle were pumped up for it. We expected that and we should have dealt with it better," he said.

"But coming from 1-0 down was a good result for us. It required a lot of grit."

Phelan pleased to grind out win

Ferguson acknowledged that the Magpies came close to setting the visitors an even stiffer test during a period of early dominance.

"Newcastle knew it was a massive game for them and went about their job in the right way," he said.

"We could have been 2-0 down actually. Obafemi Martins hit one by the post, and it was a hairy spell for us."

With United's sizeable lead over the chasing pack restored, Ferguson could afford to be relaxed about the end of Van der Sar's run of clean sheets.

"Edwin says himself he made a mess of it, and they had a couple of near things after that. It was going to happen some time, and it is out of the road now," he added.

United have the extra cushion of a game in hand over both their nearest challengers, and could deal a fatal blow to Liverpool's hopes when the two sides meet at Old Trafford a week on Saturday, 14 March.

By contrast, Wednesday's defeat leaves Newcastle just a point clear of the relegation zone with 10 games remaining.

But asked if he believes they will survive, caretaker boss Chris Hughton said: "Yes, I do.

"It's vital that we put on that type of performance right through to the end of the season. I was delighted with the performance.

"In the form that Manchester United are in, to be able in a lot of periods of the match to take the game to them, take the lead and go very close to getting a second speaks volumes for this group of players."

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see also
Newcastle 1-2 Manchester United
04 Mar 09 |  Premier League
Premier League as it happened
04 Mar 09 |  Premier League
Wednesday's football photos
04 Mar 09 |  Football
Liverpool & Chelsea in title vow
04 Mar 09 |  Premier League

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