United wary of bogey-team Fulham

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Manchester United face Fulham next.

London – Manchester United may sit seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table with 14 rounds to go but the experience of last season means that they will be taking nothing for granted this weekend when they travel to Fulham.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side led by a similar margin much later on last season but a number of slip-ups allowed Manchester City to pip them for the title.

And after a hard-fought 2-1 home win over Southampton in midweek, defender Nemanja Vidic knows that any team is capable of causing an upset.

“Away games are always hard so we need to think about that,” he said. “It's a good position we're in. It's important to win games, especially at this stage of the season, and every game now is important.

“We know that we have to forget the games that come before and always focus on the next ones. Nothing is finished yet. There is a long way to go but we're in a good position.”

United won 5-0 at Fulham last season but that was their first win at Craven Cottage since March 2008.

Ferguson said he hoped his side feed off the win over Southampton, when they were given a real run for their money in the second half.

“In my experience at the club, when we're going for championships there's always a game where you say to yourself: 'we were a bit lucky',” Ferguson said.

“Southampton, in the second half, gave the best performance anyone's given here this season. I think they pushed right on top of us and didn't give us time to settle.”

Manchester City know they cannot afford to drop many more points if they want to retain their title but will be wary of an improving Liverpool side who go into Sunday's game at Eastlands boosted by a 2-2 draw at Arsenal in midweek.

A 0-0 draw at bottom side Queens Park Rangers in midweek cost City two points and with Mario Balotelli having moved to AC Milan, manager Roberto Mancini will look to lift his side once more.

Mancini travelled to London to watch Liverpool at Arsenal and the visitors' manager, Brendan Rodgers, is convinced his seventh-placed side can come away with a win as they try to close the gap on the top four.

“We can go to Manchester City and win,” Rodgers said. “If we end up with four points from these two games that will show we're really pushing in the right direction.”

Chelsea, 13 points behind United in third, will be desperate to make up for dropped points at Reading in midweek, a match in which they conceded two late goals to draw 2-2.

“We're still in a really good position in the table, but it could have been better,” caretaker manager Rafa Benitez said. “We are improving a lot. (Against Reading) for 85 minutes it was perfect, so the result is difficult to take.”

Chelsea travel to Newcastle this weekend while fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur are away to West Brom and fifth-placed Everton host a struggling Aston Villa side, who dropped to second-bottom in midweek.

At the other end of the table, QPR will be hopeful of taking maximum points as they take on Norwich, while fourth-bottom Reading host Sunderland and Wigan, one place below them, play Southampton.

In the weekend's other games, Arsenal host Stoke City and West Ham entertain Swansea at Upton Park. – Sapa-dpa


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