Ferguson laughs off Mancini jibe

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway paid tribute to his

goalkeeper Julian Speroni following the 1-0 victory over Derby at

Pride Park.

Yannick Bolasie hit Palace’s winner after 13 minutes, but it was

Speroni’s string of superb saves – culminating in deflecting Conor

Sammon’s 87th-minute spot-kick on to the crossbar – that eventually

earned the Eagles a first away win since November.

“I think he’s a wonderful person,” said Holloway. “It’s not just

what he’s like with his gloves on; he’s a wonderful human

being.

“I think he epitomises the club – we’re fresh, we’re hungry, we

want to do it. He’s been player of the year three times in a row so

he’s definitely a fans’ favourite, and he was absolutely

outstanding.

“It’s nice to get that monkey off your back and it took a

marvellous save from our goalie – I thought he was inspired.

“That’s why he’s got his own bar at our ground. To do well you

need a really good goalie and he’s proved that tonight.”

Holloway sympathised with Derby, adding: “They’ve had a lot of

bad luck. They’ve got a young side who are so enthusiastic and they

probably deserved better than they got, but we’ve got to take that

and try and move on.

“We all looked a bit nervous at the end, myself included,

because we want it so bad.

“I’m going to enjoy this because we’re in with a shout of

automatic promotion and that’s fantastic for everybody at the

club.”

Mancini made the observation last weekend as he assessed the

state of a title race that subsequently saw victories for both

United and Manchester City that maintained the status quo with 11

games remaining.

The City manager’s argument is that United, whilst deserving of

their top-of-the-table status, were not so superior to his own side

they were worthy of such an imposing advantage that surely will be

impossible to claw back.

It was an observation Ferguson countered immediately.

“We’re dead lucky,” said the Scot, with more than a hint of

sarcasm.

“We have only been doing it for 25 years. It is a terrible

habit.

“Maybe he (Mancini) is lucky they are only 12 points

behind.”

It was Ferguson in one of his jocular moods, although it did not

lead to words of sympathy for old adversary Rafael Benitez over his

plight at Chelsea, which the Scot preferred to stay out of.

“I am not getting into that,” he said.