Last Updated: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 11:05
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson expects the title battle to be a close contest after Wednesday's victory over West Ham.
Robin van Persie's deflected strike after just 32 seconds gave Ferguson's side an early lead at Old Trafford, but the Dutchman's effort proved to be the only goal of the game as United secured a 1-0 win.
West Ham had chances to equalise, with both Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll coming close for the Hammers, but the title-chasers held on and sealed the win, picking up a vital three points.
Ferguson admits his side were not at their best on Wednesday evening but welcomed the three point haul, especially with rivals and defending champions Manchester City picking up a win at Wigan.
United are one point clear of City with 33 points after 14 games and Ferguson expects this season's battle for the top domestic prize to be a closely fought contest.
Chelsea are also involved in the hunt for the top prize, although they trail United by seven points, and Ferguson is well aware the Old Trafford outfit must keep grinding out victories, even when they're not firing on all cylinders.
"We got a great start," said Ferguson. "You hope to go on from a start like that and some of our football was very good but we never quite finished them off.
"We have played with the diamond quite a few times this season and done very well so I don't think that is an excuse. But we have got the three points and are still ahead in the league.
"With Chelsea drawing it draws us away from them a little bit further. But of course, (Manchester) City are on our tails so it is going to be a long season."
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