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Fergie in fix as Chelsea steal march

sports Updated: Aug 16, 2007 17:48 IST
Fergie in a fix as Chelsea steal a march

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson admitted Cristiano Ronaldo's red card was the last thing he needed as Chelsea opened a four-point lead over their title rivals.

Ferguson said the dismissal for a head-butt was all Ronaldo's fault as the champions were held 1-1 by Portsmouth at Fratton Park, United's second draw in their two games so far this season.

But Chelsea, who lost the English Premier League trophy to United last season after two straight titles, were buoyant after they claimed a second straight win in a 2-1 victory at Reading.

Meanwhile, former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson yesterday said life could not get better after his Manchester City side beat Derby County 1-0 in the Swede's first Premier League home match.

Elsewhere, Sunderland snatched a 2-2 draw at Birmingham, Wigan won 1-0 at home to Middlesbrough and hosts Fulham beat Bolton 2-1.

Everton lead the table after two games, ahead of Manchester City and Chelsea, all on six points.

Ferguson is without a host of injured players and is now woefully short of attacking players, given Ronaldo's ensuing ban.

"My take is that he was provoked, he's fallen into the trap and he's paid the penalty for it and it's his own fault," the Scot told reporters.

The United boss said the only positive from Fratton Park was Carlos Tevez's debut.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho admitted the Blues had been given a rough ride at Reading.

Down at half time to Cameroonian defender Andre Bikey's 30th-minute tap-in, Mourinho used his two remaining substitutes in an attacking gamble.

It paid off as England midfielder Frank Lampard scored within two minutes and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba hit the winner three minutes later.

Eriksson was thrilled after City beat visitors Derby at Eastlands thanks to a 43rd-minute goal from home-grown mid-fielder Michael Johnson, 19, in only his 12th match.

"It's a long way to go yet so we have to keep our feet on the ground. It's a good start we've had six points after two games, two clean sheets - very good and it couldn't be better," Eriksson said.

Sunderland scored a crucial injury time goal for the second game running as they claimed a 2-2 draw in an exciting clash with Birmingham City at St Andrews.

Middlesbrough slumped to a second straight defeat as they were beaten 1-0 at Wigan Athletic's JJB Stadium.

French mid-fielder Antoine Sibierski's 55th-minute goal gave the Latics their first win of the season.

"It's a very, very pleasing result. It was hard fought and a real team performance," said Wigan boss Chris Hutchings.

At Craven Cottage, Bolton also suffered their second straight defeat as Fulham edged them out 2-1 in a game dominated by the lashing rain.

Everton earlier beat hosts Tottenham 3-1 at White Hart Lane on Tuesday.