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The Arizonan

Roy of the Fulham pleased with Utd victory

last updated Sunday 22nd March 2009, 1:03 AM


Premiership Fulham boss Roy Hodgson
Fulham boss
Roy Hodgson
Fulham coach Roy Hodgson insists United are favourites to retain the Premier League title despite their back-to-back defeats.

Chelsea were unable to take advantage of United's second successive slip-up but Liverpool have the chance to do so tomorrow.

However Hodgson declared: "United are such a good team with so many good players, I still think they are favourites for the championship this year - but the last two defeats have given the teams chasing them that little bit more hope.''

Fulham were rampant, especially in the first-half when they continually tore United's defence apart and Hodgson could not hide his pride in their performance.

"I thought we were very good in the first-half, I thought we really played well - probably as well I've seen us play certainly against top class opposition,'' said Hodgson.

"Obviously aided by the fact Paul Scholes handled Zamora's header and that made life much harder for United from the outset - having to play with 10 men.

"I thought in the second half United came out very well. They took the game to us even though they had a man less. They pressurised us so much better in the second half and we have got goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to thank.

"He made three good saves, one from a Cristiano Ronaldo header and a fantastic double save. We've got him to thank because had they equalised at that time then who knows what would have happened? They had us against the ropes.

"Our first half performance was quite outstanding. I didn't think we played quite as well in the second half. But we worked and fought hard.

"When you are leading 1-0 against United who have got 10 men, something of a siege mentality is always likely to creep in to your game, even though you don't want it to.

"I am really pleased with the victory. The players have deserved this. It is nice to reach that magical total of 40 points as well and I am hoping we can reproduce something like the same football in the next eight games.''

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson acknowledged his team were not good enough today as they 2-0 lost at Fulham.

The defeat, on the back of last week's 4-1 home reverse against Liverpool, means the Barclays Premier League leaders have suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time in 147 games.

After Danny Murphy (penalty) and Zoltan Gera had scored in each half to condemn his team to a 2-0 defeat, Ferguson said: "In the first half we never got started. They were lively and got stuck in and we respect that - they lost 4-0 to us a couple of weeks ago. But it's disappointing we didn't meet the challenge.

"If you lose games in March and April it can cost you. Fortunately we have a slender lead at the moment but not a lot and I'm hoping we come back from the internationals back to our best.''

Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney were both sent off by referee Phil Dowd - Scholes in the 17th minute for handling a Bobby Zamora header on the goal line and substitute Rooney for a second bookable offence.

The latter dismissal frustrated Ferguson, who added on MUTV: "Did he (Rooney) throw the ball at the referee? The ball was thrown direct to where the free-kick was being taken - did it hit the referee? No. He threw it because he wanted to get the game going. What can you say about that?

"There wasn't a bad tackle in the game but John Pantsil was booked in the first half for nothing - it was just a tackle. Tackling isn't always perfect - I thought it was totally unfair. But there's no point talking about the referee - we didn't play well enough to win the game in the first half and that's why we lost it.

"In the second half I thought we did really well - they kept going and credit to them. But we're home to Aston Villa in our next game - and that will be crucial.''











































































































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