Fergie and Ron claim awards

Barclays honour United duo for March efforts

Sir Alex Ferguson and Cristiano Ronaldo have claimed the Barclays Manager and Player of the Month awards for March.

Manchester United claimed victories over Fulham, Derby, Bolton, Liverpool and Aston Villa to move clear at the top of the Premier League table.

Ronaldo continued his astonishing season during March, with vital goals against Derby, Bolton and Liverpool, before producing an astonishing backheeled effort against Villa.

It is the fourth time Ronaldo, who has scored 27 Premier League goals this term, has won the award.

Veteran United boss Ferguson has now been manager of the month 21 times in the Premier League era, the first being in August 1993.


And Ferguson insists that worldwide acclaim will not affect Ronaldo's mentality.

The United winger is hotly tipped to pick up a whole host of personal accolades in the coming months after a truly remarkable season for the Red Devils.

He appears to be the strong favourite to pick up a double at the upcoming PFA Player of the Year awards and is certain to be among the front-runners for the Fifa World Player of the Year award in December.

Already lauded as the greatest player on the planet, Ronaldo has notched an incredible 37 goals in all competitions for United this season.

The overbearing attention he has received as a result of his magical displays takes a strong character to deal with. However, his manager insists that the Portuguese superstar has remained grounded throughout his rise to prominence.

"Success can affect people, no question of that. We see it time and time again," said Ferguson.

"But I do not see any signs of that in Ronaldo. The boy is intelligent and sensible enough to realise what football is about.

"The great quality is to keep your ability, and your feet on the ground. Yes, he will go and express himself in a way that is extravagant at times.

"But that is a measure of his courage and real ability. We will never stop him doing that.

"We want players like him to perform on the stage at Old Trafford and express themselves."


Ronaldo and co face arch-rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1, and Ferguson is expecting a predictably tough game.

The United boss is wary of a Gunners backlash after they were unceremoniously dumped out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night, but also acknowledges that the visitors will be under considerable pressure to get a result in Manchester with the league now representing their only chance of success this season.

"It is hard to recover from these things when you are knocked out of a competition," Ferguson said.

"It is also difficult for Arsenal in the league at the moment as they are six points behind us and three behind Chelsea.

"With five games to go there is not a lot of leeway and they cannot afford to drop any points.

"However, that does not make it any different for us as to the way we prepare for the Arsenal game.

"They are always competitive games and it is such a big occasion.

"Arsenal have been our main competitors the last 16-17 years with success on both sides.

"So not much has changed in that respect. The important thing from our point of view is to make sure we keep motoring."