Fergie hails Scholes
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom – Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson paid tribute to Paul Scholes after his team closed in on a 20th English title.
Scholes, 37, scored a third goal since coming out of retirement in January as United secured an 11th win in 12 Premier League matches with a 2-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford.
The former England midfielder has been involved in each of those games, as United have recovered from back-to-back losses at the turn of the year to overtake local rivals Manchester City in the title race.
City official Patrick Vieira, the former Arsenal star, said last month that Scholes' recall had smacked of “weakness”.
But Ferguson insisted Scholes had been a key reason for a United resurgence that has left them eight points clear with just six games left after City went down to a 1-0 defeat away to Arsenal hours after United had beaten QPR.
Scholes struck from distance to seal victory in the 68th minute after United had taken an early lead through a Wayne Rooney penalty awarded after QPR captain Shaun Derry was controversially sent off for a challenge on Ashley Young.
“Someone said the stats were we have dropped two points since he returned to the fold,” Ferguson said.
“This was a typical Paul Scholes goal, he has three now since he has come back and you see the control of the game he has and the control of the tempo of the game,” the Scot added.
“It's never changed really. He's a great player. There are only six games left now, three at home and three away, and hopefully we can run it out now.”
Defender Rio Ferdinand said United's experience had been key to them taking charge of the run-in as they aim for a fifth title in six years.
Despite spending much of the campaign chasing City, Ferdinand maintained United, who head to relegation-threatened Wigan on Wednesday, never doubted themselves, even during their mid-season slump.
“Experience is huge,” the England international explained. “We've been in this position before so that counts for a lot.
“We know what it takes to get over the finishing line first and we've got to use that experience and make sure we do that again.”
Meanwhile QPR manager Mark Hughes said he intended to appeal against the one-match ban that will be given to Derry after the midfielder's red card.
Derry was dismissed despite making minimal contact with Young, who was himself in an offside position.
Hughes, optimistic Derry would be available for his team's crucial game against Swansea on Wednesday, said many of his fellow top-flight managers were concerned with the standard of refereeing in the Premier League.
“These are massive decisions that affect people's livelihoods,” he said. “It's affecting too many people that the correct decisions aren't being made.
“You do discuss that before every game and it shouldn't be like that,” the former United striker added.
“You should have confidence that the referee will make key decisions and just lately a lot of managers have lost faith.”
A heavy defeat would have seen QPR slip into the relegation zone but after refusing to capitulate at Old Trafford, they remain outside the bottom three on goal difference.
Hughes was optimistic the west London club could avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
“If we can pick up maximum points from our home games and then some away from home, hopefully that will be enough.”Sapa-AFP