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Sir Alex Ferguson has set his sights on improving the club's goal difference as his charges look to overturn an eight point deficit on league leaders Chelsea.

United led the way last season with 80 goals scored to just 22 conceded, but it is challengers Chelsea who have the finest record so far in this campaign, having scored 32 goals whilst conceding just four.

United by contrast are 13 goals worse off compared to the pace-setters and the Manchester United boss expects that closing that gap could prove just as pivotal in the race for the title.

"We have made the point to the players that goal difference could be important," said Ferguson.

"We have to make sure we are the best at that. Over the years we have been, but at the moment Chelsea are well ahead of us.

"It gives us a bit of leeway to make up there, as well as the points we are behind."

United have so far had to travel to Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal this season, picking up just one point from the so-called 'Big Four' clashes.

And with another tough away tie against high fliers Aston Villa on Saturday, Ferguson believes that the current Premier League Champions must keep in touch at the top if they are to launch a title assault in 2009.

"We have had a difficult first half of the season in terms of games away from home against the top teams," bemoaned the United boss.

"Having to play away from home after every European tie has not helped either. They say the league is not handicapped. It is this season.

"But it is our intention to get to the New Year a couple of points behind the leaders. If we can do that, we have a big chance.",19528,11661_4534284,00.html
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