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Page last updated at 18:26 GMT, Saturday, 2 October 2010 19:26 UK

Sir Alex Ferguson satisfied with a point at Sunderland

Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson watches his side from the touchline at the Stadium of Light

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he was satisfied with the point earned at Sunderland on Saturday.

Ferguson's men were second best during the game at the Stadium of Light but put in a strong defensive display to deny Sunderland and clinch a 0-0 draw.

"We had to defend very well and the pleasing thing for me is that the back four were fantastic," said Ferguson.

"The consistency of not losing is something we can take. I am not pleased but I am satisfied."

The result means Manchester United have now drawn all four of their away games in the Premier League this season.

We've had an horrific run in terms of who we have played against. I think this is the hardest eight points we've ever earned

Steve Bruce

However, this is the first clean sheet they have kept on the road and differs from their displays at Fulham and Everton earlier in the season, where they conceded late goals to throw away potential victories.

"Sunderland had the most chances in the game and I have to say we were fantastic defensively," added Ferguson.

"That's the area in which we have been leaking goals and throwing games away this season, so I am pleased with that.

"It was a very determined Sunderland team, their home record this season has been very, very good."

Asked about his side's failure to date to win a league game on the road, Ferguson said: "It's a concern, the first three.

"I can't class today's as a disappointment because we had to battle to get the point today. But we have thrown the other three away."

606: DEBATE
roger britton

United came into Saturday's game having battled to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Ferguson opted to make four changes from that side, the most notable of which saw Michael Owen and Federico Macheda start up front, with Dimitar Berbatov dropped to the bench, where he was joined by Patrice Evra.

United were also missing Wayne Rooney, who was not risked despite the striker declaring himself fit following an ankle injury.

Kick off at the Stadium of Light was delayed by 20 minutes because of a burst water pipe in the away dressing room, and when the game did eventually start, United immediately found themselves stemming the home tide.

Sunderland completely dominated the first half and would have been ahead at half time if Steed Malbranque had finished better when through on goal or had Bolo Zenden's shot not hit the post.

Bruce delighted with Sunderland display

While United's defence - containing the recently reunited centre-back pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic - held firm, their attack offered little.

It was only after Berbatov replaced Owen at half-time that United threatened, with the Bulgarian firing their best effort wide with 15 minutes to go.

"We had no attacking purpose in the first 25 minutes of the match," admitted Ferguson.

"It wasn't until towards the end of the first half that we got any semblance of keeping possession of the ball.

"In the second half we did a lot better, there was more threat by us, but they had chances from set-pieces."

The game completes a particularly difficult start to the season for Sunderland, who have taken eight points from games against Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool in recent weeks.

"I'm delighted for the players and the way they played," said Black Cats boss Steve Bruce.

Draw was a fair result - Phelan

"We've had an horrific run in terms of who we have played against. I think this is the hardest eight points we've ever earned.

"We had a big chance with Steed and he knows it because he's devastated. I think he thought he was offside and that was the problem.

"You need to take those kind of chances when you are on top because you're always worried you will get punished.

"But overall I'm delighted with how we've played against the top teams and Manchester United certainly fit into that category."

The result means Sunderland have not recorded a win over Manchester United in 18 attempts and extends Bruce's own winless managerial streak against the club he represented as a player to 16 matches.

"It was close last year - a minute away - and today. It's always a good time to get the big boys, when they've just played in the Champions League."



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see also
Sunderland 0-0 Man Utd
02 Oct 10 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
02 Oct 10 |  Football
Saturday football as it happened
02 Oct 10 |  Football
Rooney desperate to hit best form
02 Oct 10 |  Man Utd
No need to panic, says Ferdinand
01 Oct 10 |  Man Utd


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