Man United beat Tottenham 1-0

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Manager Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United's stuttering title defence is back on track after its first Premier League victory of the season.

Updated: August 28, 2007 10:29 IST
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Manager Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United's stuttering title defence is back on track after its first Premier League victory of the season.

Two draws and a defeat had raised concern at Old Trafford before the Red Devils' hard-fought 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Sunday with a goal by new signing Nani.

"It was our least effective performance so far but in the end we got a win," Ferguson said.

Ferguson may be grateful to the referee for waving away two penalty claims by Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov.

"We battled through today and that will give us maybe more confidence to enjoy our football, which we haven't been doing in previous games," Ferguson said. "If there is one club in the country capable of going on a long run (of wins) it is us - and that is what we are looking for."

Nani's long-range strike in the 68th minute was only United's second league goal of the season, and his celebratory backflips matched the quality of the shot.

But so keen is Ferguson to boost the confidence of new signing Carlos Tevez that he attributed the goal to the Argentina striker - despite the ball marginally skimming his head.

"I think Carlos Tevez touching the ball was the definite decider," Ferguson said. "I think it may have been in anyway ... it was such a ferocious hit and difficult to see how the goalkeeper would have got it."

Despite having more than a month to recover from the Copa America, Tevez is struggling to regain the sharpness that maintained West Ham's Premier League status last season.

Tevez only came close to scoring directly twice.

Minutes before Nani's goal, Jermaine Jenas scrambled the ball off the line to deny Tevez, while his lone first-half effort went wide.

But it is Nani - the $34.3 million signing from Sporting Lisbon - who spared Ferguson his worst ever start to a Premier League campaign.

"I thought we lacked a little bit of confidence," Ferguson said. "I think the players are anxious because expectation is high here. There are some new players settling into the team - Nani and Tevez. It's not easy to come to United with the pace of the games here."

Nani was deputizing for the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo

"It isn't easy for the new signings to slot in, especially when there are a lot of injuries and the side's a bit fragmented," United and England defender Rio Ferdinand said.

"It's been a difficult period for them, but they've done well. Carlos' movement, his know-how and his nous around the pitch have been very, very good. Nani's the young player with huge potential."

Ferdinand said Sunday's victory proved United's critics have been too quick to write off their chances.

"We know what we've got to do, and that's win games," Ferdinand said. "At the moment everyone's trying to find their feet and get a bit of consistency."

But with Chelsea already topping the table with 10 points - five ahead of United - players won't have much time to adapt.

Man United failed to capitalize after dominating last week's match at Manchester City when the Red Devils lost 1-0, but Ferguson praised his players' determination against Spurs.

"This is not an easy league and there are a lot of games you have to battle through," Ferguson said. "What was required was to dig in, show great commitment. The quality in our team is excellent and we have some very good players to come back."

Signing a target man like Berbatov, whose agent claimed to have been in contact with United last week, would help United's cause.

Wayne Rooney, out of action with a fractured foot, had pleaded with Ferguson to play Sunday but may be back within weeks. Ronaldo will miss Saturday's next match against Sunderland before returning from suspension.

United's previous worst start to a Premier League campaign was in 1992. Ferguson's team recovered - and won the title.

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