Ferguson hails Howard
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
American goalkeeper Howard was in sensational form at The Reebok Stadium as he produced an array of stunning saves to thwart Bolton.
England international Ferdinand was also a towering figure at the heart of defence and has clearly thrived since the furore surrounding his failed drugs test.
United boss Ferguson was delighted with the duo's performances and admits his side had to weather a late storm from the hosts after Gary Neville's own goal.
"We expected that from them as their home form has been outstanding and they really make you work," said Ferguson.
"In the first half, we handled them perfectly and deserved to go in 2-0 up but they went for it in the second half.
"I thought Rio was absolutely magnificent and our goalkeeper just gets better and better.
"These games away from home, when the atmosphere's intense and it's a local derby, really bring them (overseas players) on.
"It's amazing. He (Ferdinand) was tiring a little bit towards the end but he was great.
"The team has given their all and shown great spirit and really battled to get the result."
With Arsenal being held at Everton and Chelsea losing to Liverpool, The Red Devils stretched their advantage at the summit to three points and Ferguson was satisfied to claim a firmer grip in the title race.
"It's been a good night's work for us," he added. "You can't dispute that, at this time of year, the games are more important.
"We have done our job and I'm delighted to hear the other results."