Hughes predicts United clean-sweep

Mark Hughes tipped his former club Manchester United to clinch the treble after Sir Alex Ferguson's side took a huge step towards securing the Premier League title. United opened up a ten point lead at the top of the Premier League table after a routine 2-0 victory over Hughes's Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday.

It keeps Ferguson's side on course for the treble. They will look to finish the job against Chelsea on Tuesday after establishing a 1-0 first leg lead over their league rivals in the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League. And United follow that with an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester neighbours City at Wembley next Saturday.

"It's a big ask but they have been here before," said Hughes, who won two league titles with United during two playing stints with the club. "They are very experienced and if anyone can do it then they can."

Both United's goals came in the first half from Dimitar Berbatov and Antonio Valencia. But Ferguson, who reported no fresh injury worries ahead of Chelsea, was far from impressed with his side's overall performance.

It's a big ask but they have been here before. They are very experienced and if anyone can do it then they can.
Fromer Manchester United striker Mark Hughes on their chances of winning the treble

"I don't think it was a job well done at all. We were a bit casual and lackadaisical," said the hard-to-please United manager. "Our two centre-backs were very good and there was some good football in the first half, and Berba did his job.

"But we were wasteful in possession in the second half. We could have suffered for it. But at this time of the season winning is the name of the game really. It was quiet. The fans were saving their voices for Tuesday, they'd better be. It was a great goal by Berba, he took it well. And a great run from nani for the second goal."

Ferguson, who made eight changes to the side which defeated Chelsea on the European stage last week, added: "You have to make changes at this time of the season. Some our players needed games; Berba, Paul Scholes, John O'Shea."

Although United have opened up a ten point lead at the top of the table, they have played two more games than nearest rivals Arsenal, who are away at struggling Blackpool on Sunday. But they will only have themselves to blame if they do not go on and clinch the title for a record 19th time.

Two of their remaining six games are against Arsenal away on 1 May and Chelsea at home on 8 May. The others are against Everton (home), Blackpool (home), Newcastle (away) and Blackburn (away).