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Mar, 4, 2012

Fergie hails 'massive' result for United

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson labelled his side's 3-1 victory over Tottenham "a massive result" in the Premier League title race, though he admitted his side needed "a bit of luck" to secure the win.

• Palmer: Lady Luck shines on United

A first-half header from Wayne Rooney against the run of play and a brace from England team-mate Ashley Young in the second period took them back to within two points of City with 11 games left.

The win also widened the gap between United and third-placed Spurs to 11 points, all-but ending the Londoners' faint title hopes as Jermain Defoe's late consolation was as good as it got for them.

Emmanuel Adebayor also had a first-half goal disallowed with the scoreline goalless, apparently for a handball after the ball struck him while standing virtually on the goalline.

Ferguson felt his team rode their luck but believes their determination to win despite not playing at their best underlined their credentials to defend the title.

"It was a great performance by Tottenham and maybe we got our tactics wrong in the first half," Ferguson told Sky Sports. "In the second half we improved, we told them at half-time to get pushed up on their back four and not let them build up their play. After the second goal we played very well.

"We had a bit of luck, and we scored right on half-time with our first shot on goal. We've played all the big teams since January, it was a really busy spell and we've come through that and played well in most of the games.

"We showed a determination to get the result, the goalkeeper made a fantastic save in the second half. Tottenham are a very good team and this is only their second defeat at home since the start of the season. It was a massive result and a massive performance from our defenders.''

The Manchester derby at Eastlands on April 30 looks ever more like the title decider, and Ferguson added: "We know exactly what we have to do. You can drop surprise points and I think both sides will, but the important thing is to drop less points than our opponents. A battling performance today tells you that we are up for it.''

Two-goal hero Young also recognised he and his team-mates were not particularly good value for the three points.

"In the first half we were not at our best," Young said. "All the players knew we weren't playing to full potential, our passing game wasn't on form. We were lucky to go in 1-0 up and we kicked on from there. It was vitally important to get the three points.''

Asked if the April 30 encounter with City at the Etihad Stadium was now shaping up to be vital, the England winger added: "Who knows? We'll take each game as it comes.''

Meanwhile, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was at a loss to understand how his side lost despite being on top for large parts of the game.

"I couldn't believe we came in 1-0 down [at half-time]," Redknapp said. "It was everything we worked on during the week, Jake Livermore and Sandro were top class. Really there was only one team who should have been in front at half-time and we came in 1-0 down.

"I couldn't have asked more from the players. Sometimes you need the luck and we didn't get any today. There was nothing much we could change, the two lads (Livermore and Sandro) dominated against (Paul) Scholes and (Michael) Carrick.

"We just needed a break but when you're 2-0 down thinking you have bossed the game, mentally it's difficult.''

Asked about Adebayor's disallowed goal, Redknapp added: "I thought it was a bit harsh, we had the same type of goal against Stevenage (disallowed) when the ball hit Scott Parker (who was ruled offside). I thought it could have counted but it was not to be.''

Redknapp insisted the mood was still upbeat at the club and is determined Spurs will end the season in third place, which carries automatic qualification for the Champions League group stage.

"We had a meeting on Friday and I said they had been a credit all season We've been on an incredible run and just had a blip last weekend against Arsenal. I want to finish third, I want to finish above Arsenal and Chelsea. That's what we're capable of doing and that's where I want us to be.''

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