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By ESPN Staff

Rooney hails determined United

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney paid tribute to his side's determination after they beat Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

• Brewin: Rooney is United's ray of light

An open affair promised goals, but with United hitting the woodwork three times and Fulham striking the bar once, the hosts look content to take a point away from the league leaders.

But Rooney's strike just 11 minutes from time finally broke the deadlock and he said he had believed patience would be important against the Londoners.

"We knew it was going always going to be difficult coming here, and they made it difficult for us,'' he told ESPN. "We hit the post and crossbar three times. "We had to keep going and believe we could get the goal, and thankfully we did. We know we can create chances and we can take them.''

The victory saw United increase their lead at the top of the table to 10 points ahead of rivals City's clash with Liverpool tomorrow.

"We are in a great position, but we are not going to get carried away,'' Rooney added.

His manager Sir Alex Ferguson felt United deserved the three points and paid tribute to the defence, who have conceded just 16 goals in 12 away games this season.

"It was a terrific football match and it was an excellent result, and I'm very pleased for us,'' Ferguson said. "They had some great chances. Our keeper [David De Gea], Jonny [Evans], Rio [Ferdinand] were terrific and we had a few chances ourselves, the second half in particular.

"In the first half, we hit the woodwork three times, but we deserved to win. Fulham have had a great home record over the years, and it is a very important result for us.''

"It's a good position [United are in] - we are pleased. Tonight you can look at the performance of the players. They put their bodies on the line, blocking shots, great headers out of defence, a really determined effort by the players.

"It was similar to when we played here a few years ago when Cristiano [Ronaldo] scored near the end and we went on to have an undefeated run after that. It was around the same time, too."

Fulham boss Martin Jol said he believed United would lift the title and praised his side for having come close to frustrating them.

"We did well in midfield and at the back,'' he said. "It was one of our better performances this season. But they are capable of creating something out of nothing, as Rooney did. Now I think they will win it.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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