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Pressure is on Man Utd - Benitez


Win puts pressure on Man Utd - Benitez

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez says his side's 1-0 win over Fulham has put pressure on Manchester United in the race for the Premier League title.

Yossi Benayoun scored a dramatic winner in the 92nd minute to send Liverpool top of the table by two points, although United have two games in hand.

Benitez said: "We know we are still in the title race. I think it puts a bit more pressure on Manchester United.

"They have experience and quality but they will be under pressure."

United play one of their games in hand on Sunday when they host Aston Villa and a win will see them regain the top spot in the Premier League.

But Benitez is delighted that Liverpool have ensured United will have to work hard to achieve it by taking three points from Craven Cottage.

We can 'steal' title - Benayoun

It had looked as though Liverpool were going to be frustrated by Roy Hodgson's side, particularly when they hit the woodwork four times in the first half.

But Benitez insisted he never gave up hope that the goal would come.

"We were creating chances so we were disappointed we could not score," the Spaniard told BBC Sport. "But to score the late goal we are really pleased.

"We were doing the right things all the time, it was just the finishing that needed to improve - and also their keeper was doing well. But if you are playing well you just have to keep going.

"We had confidence until the end, this team has belief that we will be able to score right at the end.

"We are playing with confidence and it's easier to play better when you have confidence. It is a positive cycle - you are playing well, you are creating chances, you are scoring goals, you are winning matches."


Matchwinner Benayoun admitted he wondered whether Liverpool would finally score.

He said: "We missed a lot of chances and you start to think it will be one of those days that the ball will not go in.

"We were lucky in the end to create two or three more chances. I missed a better chance before I scored but I was lucky to get another one and I hit well and it went in.

"It is the sweetest moment to score a goal in the last minute. We are very happy to get the three points. We hope Manchester United will drop points and hopefully we can steal the title in the end."

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson said conceding the late goal was "a bitter pill to swallow".

"If we had got a goalless draw today I do not think we would have stolen the point," he said.

Late goal 'bitter pill' for Hodgson

"Because we were so close to getting a 0-0 draw with Liverpool and a great result for us, it knocked me for six that they scored.

"They did hit the frame of the goal a few times but I felt we were unfortunate that the goal they scored was a result of a very fortuitous ricochet.

"However, I don't think we deserved to win it. On chances you have to say that Liverpool, on chances, deserved to win the game."

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see also
Fulham 0-1 Liverpool
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Premier League as it happened
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League

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