United happy to leave it late

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Over his 25-year tenure at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson has had a decent experience of knowing when success is coming his way. When a timely omen reared it's head in the 92nd minute at Carrow Road on Sunday, he's likely to have experienced that same feeling of delight once again.

It's something that has accompanied each one of the Scot's successes at Old Trafford, and one that even with Manchester City leading the way at the top of the Premier League, gives United the edge in the title race.

It would be something of an understatement to suggest that United have made a handy knack of notching late goals to swing seasons back in their favour. At 3:17pm on Sunday afternoon, from looking likely to fall further behind in the title race, Ryan Giggs, another factor in United's continued success under Ferguson, touched home to give their title pursuit renewed vigour at Norwich.

You couldn't help feel that United's late salvo in this, or indeed any other season, wouldn't have been replicated by the current clan from the Etihad Stadium. Granted, City have tended to kill games off early on this season, meaning such late drama has been unnecessary.

However, when required, staging comebacks hasn't been City's forte this season, not that they've had a great deal of practice. In both games that they've conceded the first goal, they've gone on to lose; at Sunderland and Everton.

To further emphasise how important the first goal is to their results, on only three occasions have City dropped points from a winning position; at Fulham, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Granted, only on two occasions have United gone from conceding the first goal to claim a share of the points, against Liverpool and Chelsea, but the history of late goals that is seemingly in-bedded in the Old Trafford squad, could play such a decisive part in the closing weeks of the season.

Over 25% of United's goals this season have come in the final 15 minutes of games in the Premier League, compared with 19% of City's goals coming in the same time-frame.

United know all too well the nature the the title run in. The cliche of there being no easy games always seems to run true, and being able to keep your cool in games with ample pressure attached is a must. Mancini has already admitted his team struggle to cope with such expectancy.

In the final 12 games of the season, the likelihood is that City will be faced with having to draw from their powers of recovery on at least one occasion. A failure to react accordingly could see them run out of time in their race for the title.

Premier League
Manchester United
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