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Fergie salutes De Gea for 'keeping United in game'

BY Alex Ferguson's own admission, Manchester United had David De Gea to thank for still being level heading into the final 10 minutes at Blackburn last night.

Man of the match Antonio Valencia then broke through the home side's stubborn resistance, before Ashley Young added a second goal to make it an incredible 10 wins from 11 Premier League games for United, securing a five-point lead over nearest title challengers Manchester City in the process.

"David De Gea made three fantastic saves to keep us in the game," said Ferguson.

"Although we had all the possession, we couldn't create the openings to get in front, so David has done his bit for the team.

"He has really grown in stature the boy. He was outstanding."

Yet De Gea was shaded for the man-of-the-match prize by Valencia, who is quickly turning into United's player of the season.

The winger was clearly the visitors' most dangerous attacking outlet, although there was some doubt as to whether he had intended to score.

"They are saying, 'Was it a cross or a shot?' It doesn't matter," said Ferguson.

"It was a fantastic finish. I thought he was the best player on the pitch."


The timing of Easter Sunday's fixtures mean the Reds could be eight points ahead of City by the time the Blues face Arsenal at the Emirates, should they beat QPR at Old Trafford.

Ferguson preferred to focus on his own side, who after Rangers tackle Wigan and Aston Villa.

"They are all big games now," he said.

"It doesn't matter if it is next Sunday, next Wednesday, the Sunday after that, they are all big ones."

Blackburn manager Steve Kean is aware United's next three opponents are also fighting relegation.

"We are looking for Manchester United to do us a favour now," he said.

"We have to look after our own business as well, though, and if we play like we did for the first 80 minutes for 90 over the next seven games, we will get enough points to stay out of trouble."