Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Manchester United will not be adding to the playing squad in the January transfer window. The Premier League leaders recorded a comfortable 3-1 win over Sunderland, at Old Trafford, on Saturday. Strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie and midfielder Tom Cleverley all found the back of the net for the Red Devils, to restore a six point lead over cross-town rivals and defending champions Manchester City. Former United youngster Frazer Campbell scored a consolation for Martin O'Neill's side.
"I will not be bringing anybody in, in January - definitely not," the 70 year old Scot stressed to the Daily Mail, after the Sunderland win.
If Ferguson does hold himself to the statement, it means that while rivals Chelsea, City and maybe even the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool, strengthen their squads with additions, United will rely on the squad they have. Ferguson's statement also means speculation linking the likes of Everton left back Leighton Baines, Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama, Real Madrid's German playmaker Mesut Ozil and Stoke City goal keeper Asmir Begovic are, for now, nothing more than idle gossip.
Praise for van Persie, Stick for Rooney
Meanwhile, the long-serving United manager had nothing but praise for ex-Arsenal skipper van Persie, after the Dutchman scored his 15th league goal of the season against the Black Cats. The 29 year old international has carried his superb form from last season to his new club, as he scored once and set up another for United.
"Sometimes they still don't pick out Robin van Persie's runs as well as they should," Ferguson observed after the game, adding, "But his movement always kept them on the back foot. And Wayne could have scored four in this game easily - he hit the bar and missed two or three in the first half."
More from Cleverley
And young England midfielder Cleverley also came in for his share of the praise, after a sweetly struck curling shot eased United into a two goal lead at Old Trafford. The 23 year old has made eight starts for the club, in the league, this season and 14 appearances in all competitions. However, this was only his second goals of the campaign (his first league strike). And Ferguson believes the midfielder is capable of scoring many more.
"[Cleverley] has goals, as a younger player there was always a goal in him. It was a great one-touch finish - he's got two this season and I really do expect more from him because he's a nice finisher," the boss told Sky Sports News.
Finally, Saturday evening's game also marked the long-awaited return of club captain and Serbian international Nemanja Vidic. The 31 year old has been out of the squad for three months this term alone, to add to a knee ligament injury last season, in a Champions League group stage game.
"He is a warrior and a captain who has always battled for you. He sticks his head on the ball in that penalty box and he's great at that," Ferguson declared.