Manchester Utd's thrashing of Wolves extends lead over City
Five goals gives goal difference a boost - which could be significant, says Ferguson
Wolves 0 Manchester United 5. The thrashing of Wolves at Molineux extends Manchester United's lead at the top of the Premier League to four points over Manchester City. The Sky Blues, who weren't in action at the weekend, play their game in hand on Wednesday against Chelsea knowing that anything but a win will increase the pressure, particularly as United's romp reduces City's goal advantage to just three.
It was a welcome return to form for United following their defeat to Athletic Bilbao in last week's Europa League, but Alex Ferguson was still meagre in his praise of his side. "The scoreline makes it look comprehensive, it wasn't really," said the United boss, adding: "But our finishing was good."
"The number of goals could be significant by the end of the season."
Jonny Evans opened the scoring for United on 21 minutes and then Wolves were hit with a four-goal burst in a 20-minute period either side of half-time. Javier Hernandez scored twice and Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck also got on the scoresheet as United sealed their ninth Premier League win in 10 matches.
The defeat leaves Wolves rooted to the bottom of the table, their inferior goal difference meaning they prop up Wigan and QPR despite the three clubs all having 22 points.
As for United's improving goal difference – now 46, closing on City's 49 - Ferguson believes it could be a significant factor as the title race approaches the home straight. "We've got the [goal] deficit with Manchester City down by five to three and we hope we can catch them up in terms of the goal difference," he said before indulging in his customary mind games.
With Chelsea beating Leicester 5-2 in the FA Cup on Sunday, hot on the heels of their 4-1 victory over Napoli in the Champions League, Ferguson fears for his Manchester neighbours' wellbeing when they take on the clearly resurgent Blues on Wednesday. "You never what's going to happen on Wednesday. It's a difficult game for both teams and Chelsea are battling to be in the top four and have maybe come back to form."
In Sunday's other Premier League clash, Newcastle beat Norwich 1-0 to keep alive their hopes of a place in Europe next season. The Magpies had Papiss Cisse to thank for their three points, the Senegalese striker scoring a sweet goal with the outside of his foot on 11 minutes.
Newcastle remain in sixth spot but are now just two points behind Chelsea who have a game in hand on their north-east rivals. "Cisse showed what he's about today, he could have had a hat-trick," said Magpies' manager Alan Pardew. "We have now reset our goals and we're going for the Europa League."