Wayne Rooney feels the Premier League title is Manchester United’s to throw away after they came from two goals down to beat Tottenham 5-2.
United trailed at half-time but ran riot in the second half, scoring five goals in the space of 22 minutes courtesy of Rooney (two), Cristiano Ronaldo (two) and Dimitar Berbatov.
The win took them back to the top of the table after Liverpool had briefly gone top with a 3-1 win over Hull earlier today, and they have a three-point cushion and a game in hand over the Reds.
“We know we’re in a great position,” Rooney told Setanta Sports. “We have to take advantage of that game in hand. We’ve got five games left and it’s ours to throw away.
“It was very important to win today and stay top of the league by a margin. It gives us belief and confidence ahead of the midweek game.
“It was a brilliant comeback. The first half was too slow and we had to quicken up. We knew once we got that first goal we’d have a chance and in the end it was quite comfortable.”
Ferguson hailed the impact of substitute Carlos Tevez, who came on in the 58th minute.
“We were too slow, too casual in the first half,” he said. “We needed to speed up in the second half and Tevez was responsible for that. He got the rest of the team playing.
“We had to get the first goal quite early. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion after that by any means but it gave us impetus.”
Ferguson also admitted United had been lucky to be awarded a penalty for their first goal, which Ronaldo scored, as Heurelho Gomes appeared to get a hand on the ball before colliding with Michael Carrick.
“It was a bit fortunate,” he said. “Football is funny like that. Last week we were knocked out of the FA Cup by not getting a penalty kick. It doesn’t deflect from our second-half performance.”
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp had far stronger feelings about the penalty, however, and blasted referee Howard Webb for a “terrible decision”.
“The turning point was definitely the penalty,” said Redknapp. “It turned the game in their favour without a doubt.
“At that stage I couldn’t see us getting beat. It was a gift which wasn’t deserved. It was a terrible decision. It’s a great bit of goalkeeping, he’s got to the ball.
“Howard is supposed to be our best ref, but if he’s the best I’d hate to see the worst.”
Redknapp did admit: “We conceded bad goals after that. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. You’ve got to be strong and get on with it and you can’t concede goals like that just because you feel hard done by.”