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Fergie hails United's persistence

Sir Alex Ferguson applauded the persistence of his team as they left it late to overcome Blackburn Rovers. Manchester United are now 5 points clear of local rivals Manchester City, and heading for another title.

United had to rely on goalkeeper David De Gea to repel Blackburn, until Antonio Valencia broke the deadlock in the 81st minute. A second goal, from Ashley Young, secured the points for United.

"It was a long night," the obviously-relieved United manager said. “We had to persevere and persevere and we got our reward in the end but I have to admit that I thought for a long time it wouldn't come because we didn't make many clear-cut chances. That goal is so important and it perhaps typifies the history of this club that we kept going and got our reward in the end.”

United are closing in on the 13th title of Ferguson's 26 years in charge. The manager pointed out that the late comeback remains a characteristic of the club, and United's capacity for conjuring up important goals when they have not been playing particularly well may turn out to be decisive at the end of the season.

Blackburn are in serious danger of relegation, but raised their game for the visit of United. "When you have done so well and think you are going to get something, you can get a little bit down," the Blackburn manager Steve Kean said after the game. "If we can play like that, we can get enough points. It's about keeping those standards now we are in the relegation zone."

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