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Sir Alex Ferguson sets Dimitar Berbatov 25-goal target

Wayne Rooney and Berbatov are firing United towards the title
Wayne Rooney and Berbatov may be firing United towards the title

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson wants striker Dimitar Berbatov to target 25 goals for the season and help propel Manchester United to the Premier League title.

Berbatov scored both goals in Sunday's win over Sunderland to take his tally for the league campaign to 13 so far.

"His form has been terrific. If he can get us to 25 - and we need one more to get around that figure - then we will have a good chance," said Ferguson.

Berbatov was denied a hat-trick when he smashed a shot against the woodwork.

Ferguson added: "We are hitting good form, the football was fantastic. We could have scored five by half-time," said Ferguson, whose men lead the table by two points.

"Some of the interchanges and the combination play was very, very good."

United, still unbeaten this season, appear to be hitting form just at the right time after sealing their fifth consecutive league victory.

Manchester City are their closest rivals in second place, but have played two games more than their neighbours.

Always United

The signs could be described as ominous for United's title rivals, with even Sunderland manager Steve Bruce admitting that United were far superior to his team.

"It could have been a beating for us," the Black Cats boss stated. "United were magnificent in the first half, some of their football was breathtaking.

"We had our backsides kicked in the first half but we somehow managed to hang in there and reach the interval only one goal down.

"Their second goal was unfortunate because it was a deflection, but we have to hold our hands up and say the best team won by a country mile."

Manchester United assistant boss Mike Phelan hails the contribution of midfielder Anderson in the 2-0 win over Sunderland.

Berbatov, who was restored to the line-up having been left out of United's 1-0 defeat of Arsenal, looked very sharp and Ferguson hinted the Bulgarian could be key to United's title chances.

"He knows there are times we like to play with one up front and he understands that we have to sometimes change things around. But his form has been terrific," said Ferguson.

The United manager also felt his side were able to play "in third gear" after their second goal - scored in the 57th minute - and said the players may have been thinking ahead to Tuesday's match against Birmingham.

"We were more economical in the second half," admitted Ferguson. "We want to be ready for Birmingham because they did not play on Sunday and will be fresh."

Ferguson added that Nani (hip) and Darren Fletcher (cold), who were left out of Sunday's squad, would recover in time to return for the trip to St Andrew's.

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see also
Phelan praises Anderson display
26 Dec 10 |  Man Utd
Bruce applauds 'impressive' Man Utd
26 Dec 10 |  Sunderland
Manchester United 2-0 Sunderland
26 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Boxing Day football as it happened
26 Dec 10 |  Football
Boxing Day football photos
26 Dec 10 |  Football


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