man u no match

LONDON - Sir Alex Ferguson insisted yesterday that he has never had any issues with Manchester United's owners, the Glazer family.

LONDON - Sir Alex Ferguson insisted yesterday that he has never had any issues with Manchester United's owners, the Glazer family.

The Americans have been the target of fans' criticism recently, United supporters unhappy with off-field matters including the scale of the club's debt.

But Ferguson told The Observer newspaper: "I'm never against protest. It's everyone's right, there's no doubt about that.

"But my problem with it, being manager of Manchester United, is that I've got owners who have never caused me any bother. Any time I've asked for money they have given it to us."

Ferguson then turned to striker Wayne Rooney, whose red-hot form has helped compensate for the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid last summer.

"What we're seeing now is a terror of a player," the Scot said.

Meanwhile, Chelsea opened up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League after Didier Drogba's double inspired a 2-0 win at Wolves and Everton claimed a 3-1 victory over United on Saturday.

In the day's early kickoff, United looked lethargic after their mid-week victory against AC Milan and slumped to their first defeat in nine league games.

Dimitar Berbatov put Sir Alex Ferguson's team ahead in the 16th minute. But United's lead was short-lived as Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov drove in a vicious swerving effort.

United struggled to find any momentum after that and David Moyes's team took the lead in the 76th minute. South African midfielder Steven Pienaar whipped over a low cross for substitute Dan Gosling to steer in. Jack Rodwell netted Everton's third in the 90th minute.

Third-placed Arsenal beat Sunderland 2-0, while West Ham walloped Hull 3-0. Basement club Portsmouth are eight points from safety after Salif Diao's stoppage- time goal gave 10-man Stoke a 2-1 win at Fratton Park. - Sapa-AFP

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