FOOTBALL NEWS

30/01/2008 10:30, Report by Steve Bartram
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Reds have staying power

Sir Alex Ferguson has seen enough recent evidence to suggest that his United side has the endurance to keep fighting on all fronts over the remainder of the season.

United have posted five successive wins after December's defeat at West Ham, and are looking increasingly strong in the closing stages of games - much to the manager's delight.

Sunday's victory over Tottenham took the Reds into the fifth round of the FA Cup, progression that augurs well alongside top spot in the Premier League and a berth in the Champions League second round.

“I think every team goes through the December programme and there is a draining effect on everyone, every team gets it,” Sir Alex told the press.

“What’s encouraged me is that at Aston Villa in the last 20 minutes, Newcastle in the second half and Reading we looked strong. Reading make you run more than any team does, but we were so strong in the last 20 minutes again.

“That’s given me the encouragement that this is a powerful team we’ve got, who can endure gruelling competition. I’m encouraged by that.”

Paul Scholes' return against Spurs leaves only Louis Saha, Gary Neville, Ben Foster and Mikael Silvestre on the sidelines, and Sir Alex is happy that his squad depth is able to cope with whatever obstacles the second half of the season may bring.

“I’ve got Paul coming back, so we’re happy with the squad we’ve got, happy at the competitive factor in picking teams at the moment, especially in the midfield area,” he said. “It’s not easy when I’ve got so many choices.

“But my experience at this club is that when the season comes into the Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday situation, then you need everyone, and

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