Despite witnessing his side defeat title rivals Chelsea FC, move two points clear at the Premier League summit and get off to their best start since he took over the club in November 1986, Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes there is room for improvement from the English champions, whom he criticised for giving the ball away too cheaply in Sunday's 3-1 win.
Old Trafford was the scene of a pulsating match that quickly swung in United's favour as Chris Smalling, Nani and Wayne Rooney each found a way past Petr Čech in the first half, before Fernando Torres scored his second league goal for Chelsea since arriving in January in the first minute of the second period. As the final whistle called time on the occasion, the scoreline did little to reflect a contest in which numerous goalscoring opportunities had been spurned by both sides.
"It was a great match for the neutral," said Sir Alex. "A fantastic, open match, but we created our own problems for ourselves. We gave the ball away in attacking areas and they kept counterattacking us. In the first half, they could have scored two or three."
Ramires and Frank Lampard both passed up good chances in the opening period, with the lively Torres the chief instigator, while United's wide men caused constant problems for Chelsea due to their pace and flair. "We created more opportunities, fantastic opportunities, particularly through Nani and Ashley Young, who kept getting in very good areas," added Sir Alex. "That was our strength; they couldn't cope with that."
United are the only Premier League side to have won all five matches and their winning margin could have been greater had Rooney not slipped while taking a 57th-minute penalty – a moment that recalled John Terry's mishap against United in the 2008 UEFA Champions League final. Rooney also hit the post in a subsequent move, while Dimitar Berbatov had a late chance cleared off the line.
The most glaring miss of all, though, came from Torres, who played well throughout but failed to bury into an empty net after rounding goalkeeper David De Gea with seven minutes left. "It was a strange game – very, very open and a lot of opportunities for both teams," said Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas. for whom this represented a first league defeat since April 2010.
"We had some very good chances even to score first. The scoreline went crazy in the first half, but we had good opportunities to do something in this game. Coming back from 3-0 down is always difficult and we had to take risks without exposing ourselves too much. You have an example of Rooney missing a penalty too, which is basically the same [as Torres]. The worst things happen to the best strikers in the world and today it happened to both of them."
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