MANCHESTER: Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck insists his side will not become complacent after establishing a commanding lead in the Premier League title race.
United’s dramatic 3-2 victory over second-placed Manchester City last Sunday, when Robin van Persie’s stoppage winner settled an absorbing derby at Eastlands, saw Alex Ferguson’s side go six points clear at the summit. The pulsating win ended City’s unbeaten run in the league this season and inflicted a first home league defeat on the champions since December 2010.
With City facing a tricky game at Newcastle, United could extend their lead further if they overcome struggling Sunderland at Old Trafford today. And United’s England striker Welbeck is confident his team-mates will not rest on their laurels ahead of a busy festive programme.
“Games come thick and fast and it’s important if you’re picking up the pace over Christmas,” said Welbeck. “It’s a vital period and a time all the boys look forward to. It was satisfying to win last weekend. We won’t be too complacent, though. Every single point counts.”
United are hopeful that Wayne Rooney will be available after the striker had to pull out of a book signing on Tuesday due to illness. It is thought that the issue is not serious and Rooney should be fit to face Sunderland.
City captain wants last season’s repeat
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has called for a repeat of last season’s stand-out victory at Newcastle as the ideal response to the damaging Premier League defeat by Manchester United.
Roberto Mancini’s reigning champions aim to draw on the positive memories of their last trip to St James’ Park seven months ago en-route to being crowned kings of English football.
“It’s fair to say that game has gone a bit unnoticed,” said Kompany. “But it was one of the best games we have played as a unit. Newcastle also had everything to play for as well and were a very strong side. Maybe we have to keep that memory in mind when we go there today.”
Kompany admits it is unthinkable for City’s greatest rivals to be given the opportunity to increase their advantage so substantially at this stage of the season.
“We all know the importance of the game, but I don’t do very well thinking about bad scenarios. For me, there are so many positives that can happen if we win the game. Newcastle is just as difficult as the game we had on Sunday but nothing comes easy in the Premier League.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2012.
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