Alex Ferguson hopes Manchester United will handle City threat as they did Chelsea

 

Sir Alex Ferguson intends to follow the route that allowed Manchester United to end Chelsea's stranglehold over the Premier League to combat the threat posed by Manchester City.

Until Sunday's FA Cup triumph at the Etihad Stadium, it seemed City were ready to romp away with the title.

Suddenly there are doubts on the blue half of Manchester, which United will look to exploit by overcoming Bolton at Old Trafford tomorrow to move level with their neighbours, who do not play until Monday when they travel to Wigan.

Yet, even if United eventually manage to retain their crown and become the first English club to reach 20 titles, it does appear to be only a matter of time before City reach the top.

It is not something that scares Ferguson though.

After all, Chelsea looked as though they would dominate for a decade when they won successful championships under Jose Mourinho.

But it did not quite work out that way as United went on to win four of the last five.

"The indications this would happen were there of course," Ferguson told MUTV.

"They weren't buying any kids. They brought a good deal of experience.

"But that shouldn't frighten us. We have a job to do being Manchester United, as we have proved over the years.

"How we handled the Chelsea situation will hopefully apply itself again."

The mood around Old Trafford is a lot more optimistic than it was a week ago.

However, Ferguson's team still need to recover from successive defeats against Blackburn and Newcastle that have damaged their title hopes.

With Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham all to be faced by the first week in March, United cannot afford to slip up tomorrow.

So Rio Ferdinand's posting of being kept up all night by a stomach complaint is a worry, even if Chris Smalling's return last weekend does provide some cover where none previously existed.

Darron Gibson's impending departure to Everton is not much of a blow given the Irishman had been expected to leave last summer before injury ended his hopes of a move.

The Blackburn setback will ensure no-one takes Bolton for granted tomorrow, with Ferguson conceding City are not the only challengers after watching Tottenham's rise up the table continue.

"Tottenham are a threat," he said.

"You can't dismiss them. They are playing fantastic football.

"Somewhere along the line one of those three teams are going to win the league."

PA

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