Fergie throws down gauntlet

Sir Alex Ferguson called on his side to put more pressure on leaders Chelsea following the 3-0 victory over Everton.

Manchester United produced an impressive performance to beat the Toffees at Old Trafford but they remain five points behind Carlo Ancelotti's men.

Ferguson does not want any slip-ups over the next few weeks as United look to get in a stronger position at the halfway point of the season.

"We have to look at all the games as must-win now," said the Red Devils manager.

"We need to get on a run and be somewhere near the top of the league by New Year's Day.

"Then, in the second half of the season we can have a real go and give ourselves a chance."

Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia got on the scoresheet against Everton but the victory was set up by Darren Fletcher's spectacular opening goal in the first half.

And Ferguson admits Fletcher's volley had taken him by surprise as the midfielder is better known more for his defensive qualities.

"Darren is an improving player," said Ferguson. "Each year we have seen his performance level go up and up and it is still doing so.

"But I have to admit I did not expect that goal. It was really well taken."

Ferguson was equally delighted by a clean sheet that was achieved without the talents of Rio Ferdinand, John O'Shea and Johnny Evans, who were all ruled out through injury, plus Gary Neville, who was serving the last game of a three-match suspension.

"That is probably the most important part of tonight's win," he said.

"When we defend properly and do our jobs, as we did tonight, it gives us a big chance of winning the league."

Source: Sky Sports
Date Published: 22 November 2009