Bullish Man United face Fulham test

MANCHESTER - Manchester United, buoyed by their destruction of AC Milan at Europe's top table, return to the bread and butter of the Premier League when they face Fulham at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The 7-2 aggregate victory over the seven-times European champions kept United on course for a third successive Champions League final but manager Alex Ferguson is equally excited about the possibility of becoming the first club to win the English title four years in a row.

Ferguson was delighted with the way his players rolled up their sleeves to eke out a 1-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out and they will have to do the same against Fulham who thrashed United 3-0 at Craven Cottage in December.

Ferguson said he had huge respect for Fulham and what manager Roy Hodgson has achieved at the club, who lost 3-1 at Juventus in the first leg of a Europa Cup tie on Thursday.

"What Roy has done there is a remarkable story," Ferguson told reporters on Friday.

"When he came in they were third-from-bottom and now they are playing in Europe - and they're not out of that tie either with that away goal.

"He's brought his experience and authority, they play with great discipline and that's down to the manager. He's formed a team no-one wants to play against. They are well organised, they're a good possession team and they pass the ball well.

"He's turned the whole club round and it won't be an easy game for us on Sunday."


Fulham were fortunate to catch United in the depths of a defensive injury crisis in December, with midfielder Michael Carrick forced to operate as an emergency centre back.

However, the first-choice pairing were back in harness against Milan.

"Having Rio Ferdinand and (Nemanja) Vidic back on Wednesday, that was an amazing performance by the two of them given that they've not played a lot of games together this season," Ferguson said.

"Having them back is fantastic for us."

With Gary Neville, at 35, also delivering an impressively athletic display at right back against Milan, United are looking solid in defence again as they go into the business end of the season.

Ferguson said he expected Ryan Giggs to be back in action in time to play against Liverpool on March 21 having returned to full training with a new lighter cast on his broken arm.

"He's trained very well and after he's had a month off it will it will be like getting a fresh player back," Ferguson said.

United are two points clear of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table but have played a game more.