First half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and the inspirational Carlos Tevez saw Manchester United close on the Premier League title with a 2-0 win over local rivals Manchester City on Sunday.
The decisive victory in the Manchester derby leaves United needing just four points from their remaining three games win the English championship for the third year in a row. Ronaldo smashed home an early free kick for his 26th goal of the campaign before Tevez doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime. The Argentine had made morning headlines in a tabloid newspaper as he vented his frustration about failing to win a regular place in the starting line-up. He also cast doubt on whether he would stay at Old Trafford as his two-year loan spell comes to an end and the manner of his celebration after scoring the goal underlined his feelings. After rifling the ball home from edge of the area, Tevez ran down the touchline to the dug-out, cupping his hands to his ears as the United faithful chanted “Fergie, Fergie sign him up.” It was his 14th goal of a season in which he has made just 17 starts in the Premier League, establishing himself as a clear favorite with the United fans for his all-action style. After Ronaldo had put United ahead, Tevez rattled the crossbar before scoring to effectively end the City challenge. The visitors, who completed the double over United last season under Sven-Goran Eriksson, were rarely a threat, but Robinho should have pulled a goal back early in the second half after being put through by fellow Brazilian Elano. Substitute Martin Petrov also went close, but United were able to coast to victory to move three points clear of Liverpool again with a game in hand. Ronaldo was withdrawn after an hour by manager Alex Ferguson and reacted angrily as he swiped a television microphone. “He wanted to stay on. He is in great form. But I’ve got to look at the big picture. “I’ve got to think about keeping our players as fresh as we can for the games ahead.” Ferguson told Sky Sports. The Scot would not be drawn on Tevez’s future. “He is a Manchester United player,” said Ferguson who would not be drawn on his long-term future. “I’m not getting into that at all!” he pointedly added.