Ferguson Seeks Improvement Even as Manchester United Extends Perfect Start

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson demanded improvement from his team even after a 3-1 win against Chelsea maintained the champion’s perfect start in the Premier League.

Chris Smalling, Nani and Wayne Rooney scored at Old Trafford for United, which now has a maximum 15 points from five matches in English soccer’s top league. Fernando Torres replied for Chelsea with only his second goal for the Blues in 24 games.

“Some of our football was fantastic but we were very careless at times,” Ferguson told Sky Sports. “They kept at us and we created problems for ourselves by giving the ball away so many times.”

United now holds a two-point lead over Manchester City, which was held to a 2-2 tie at Fulham, while Chelsea is third on 10 points. Tottenham defeated nine-man Liverpool 4-0, while Sunderland won by the same score against Stoke City.

It took only eight minutes for United to take the lead, Smalling rising to head in from an Ashley Young free kick.

Torres fired wide at the other end a few minutes later and set up an opportunity on 26 minutes as he fired a low ball across the penalty area. Ramires got to the ball just before teammate Daniel Sturridge, but goalkeeper David de Gea dived across to clear with a one-handed save.

Nani made it 2-0 in the 37th minute, running at the Chelsea defense before firing a 25-yard shot into the top corner. Rooney then tapped in just before halftime.

‘More Confident’

“We were more confident, our football was better and we deserved the win,” Nani told Sky Sports. “All the team has been working very hard, the results say everything.”

Chelsea responded immediately after the interval. Torres, a 50 million-pound ($79 million) signing from Liverpool in January, was fed the ball by Nicolas Anelka and slotted it past De Gea.

Both teams had more good chances in the second half. Nani struck the bar after 55 minutes and was adjudged to have been fouled by Jose Bosingwa when the ball deflected back into his path, earning a penalty kick.

Rooney, with nine goals this season, slipped as he stepped up to take the spotkick and the ball flew high and wide. He also hit a post later in the game and in injury time tried to set up Dimitar Berbatov but the Blues were able to clear.

After 83 minutes, Torres should have got his second goal of the game. The Spain striker broke clear and rounded De Gea before shooting wide with an empty net to aim for.

“For the neutral it was a fantastic, open match,” Ferguson said.

City Ties

At Craven Cottage, Manchester City appeared set to continue its winning start to the league campaign after two goals from Sergio Aguero put the visitors 2-0 up.

The Argentina striker, who now has eight goals in six games for the club, had an effort ruled out for offside early in the second half before Fulham’s comeback.

Bobby Zamora scored after 55 minutes, with Danny Murphy tying the match 20 minutes later.

Fulham, Bolton and West Bromwich Albion are in the bottom three spots on three points.

At White Hart Lane, former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor got two goals to help Tottenham to a comfortable win against Liverpool. Luka Modric and Jermain Defoe also scored.

Liverpool was trailing 1-0 when Charlie Adam received a second yellow card after 27 minutes and allowed three more goals after Martin Skrtel was sent off in the 63rd minute.

Sunderland secured its first league win of the season, ending Stoke’s unbeaten start. Titus Bramble opened the scoring before an own goal from Jonathan Woodgate and a strike by Craig Gardner, all in the first 30 minutes. Sebastian Larsson netted from a free kick in the second half.

Two days ago, Blackburn beat Arsenal 4-3, Norwich won 2-1 at Bolton, Swansea defeated West Brom 3-0, and Queens Park Rangers beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0. Everton defeated Wigan 3-1, while Aston Villa drew 1-1 against Newcastle.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Cone in London at jcone@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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