MANCHESTER UNITED WILL BONCE BACK, SAYS VAN DER SAR
GOALKEEPER Edwin van der Sar says that Manchester United will have no trouble raising its spirit for today's Barclays Premier League trip to Newcastle.
Floored by Yaya Toure's winner for Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley at the weekend and with its treble bid in tatters, United has had minimal time to recover. However, the players' mood would have improved thanks to that dramatic finale at Arsenal on Sunday, where Liverpool scored a 102nd-minute penalty to deny the Gunners three points, which gives United six points lead at the top of the table with only six games remaining.
However, Van der Sar knows that as they head up to the north-east, United needs to adopt a positive frame of mind, and he is confident they will, saying: 'It won't be difficult to pick ourselves up. We know how important the league is, we are in first position, so we just have to make the best of it.
'We were a little bit tired (on Saturday). The pace of our game was not quick enough. We have played a big number of games in the last three or four weeks and against Newcastle we must do better.'
After a draining and disappointing day, United could not have hoped for a better outcome to yesterday's game at the Emirates. It now knows that 13 points from its last six games will be enough to claim the title for a record 19 times. It could be less than that too, as United still has its two closest rivals to play at the start of next month, Chelsea heading to Old Trafford on May 8, seven days after the Red Devils have visited the Emirates.
Neither game will hold any fear, particularly if United can get the setback against City straight out of its system. Coach Alex Ferguson's team has an excellent record at St James' Park and prior to weekend's defeat it had won six matches on the trot.
'It is always nicer when you find form straight away,' Van der Sar added. 'We were a bit scrappy in the first half of the season and conceded some last-minute goals that cost us a few points. When things like that happen, it doesn't do your self-confidence a lot of good.
'On the positive side, you need mental strength in certain games when you keep conceding in the last minute or the ball is not going in. It shows the strength of character and the belief this manager has in the quality of his team that we were able to come through those moments.'