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Can’t afford to slip: Ferguson

Manchester: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes a single slip-up could be enough to determine the outcome of this season’s three-way title tussle with Arsenal and Chelsea.

Ferguson, who was left fuming after his side succumbed to a shock home defeat by Fulham last week, was relieved that his side came through what he termed a “must-win” encounter with Portsmouth at Old Trafford on Saturday.

A first-half volley from Diego Forlan and late strikes from substitutes Cristiano Ronaldo and Roy Keane delivered a win that keeps United snapping at Arsenal and Chelsea’s heels at the top of the table. “The way the league is shaping up we are going to have to have consistency,” Ferguson said.

“Chelsea won, Arsenal won and we also won — everyone is waiting for someone to slip up and it is very close. We had to win the match, especially after losing last week, and in the end we deserved to win — we kept our perseverance and kept our momentum going.

“It was never going to be easy with a lot of experienced players against us but I thought we did very well.”

Forlan’s opener was his third goal in consecutive games but Portsmouth threatened to snatch an equaliser until Ronaldo scored with a whipped-in free-kick from the left. Keane made it 3-0 with a powerful left-footed strike from 20 yards.

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