Ferguson joy as United set to overtake Liverpool title haul

'It's fantastic' says manager after victory over Chelsea leaves his side needing point to win league

Old Trafford

Sir Alex Ferguson last night expressed his disbelief that he finally stands on the brink of overhauling Liverpool's record 18 titles to become "the most successful team in the country in terms of championship victories".



Manchester United's 2-1 win over Chelsea leaves Ferguson needing only a point from his side's last two league matches and he disclosed that his players will this week begin working on how to overcome Barcelona in the Champions League final, with Carlo Ancelotti conceding that a 19th championship is heading to Old Trafford.

"It's fantastic being the most successful team," said Ferguson, whose side had only seven championships when he arrived in November, 1986. "As soon as that one [Ferguson's first] in 1992, the door opened to us. It is an incredible achievement."

He would "not have believed" overhauling Liverpool, he added. Ferguson admitted to some anxiety: "All those poor souls in the stands biting their nails and having a heart attack and I was one of them," he said, grinning, while remaining pragmatic ahead of the away trip to Blackburn on Saturday, with Blackpool at Old Trafford a week later: "You have to do your job."

But with Chelsea needing all three points, Ferguson knew from the moment of Javier Hernandez's goal after 37 seconds that he was on the way to the 12th title of nearly 25 years at the United helm.

The Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti insisted last night that he retained some hope of staying at Stamford Bridge, despite the sense that the meeting he will have with chief executive Ron Gourlay after the end of the league campaign will be his last.

"You know my position. I have another year of contract. I would like to stay but the club will take a decision at the end of the season I accept the decision. We wait and see. We will arrange a meeting after the end of the season," he said.

Ferguson railed against refereeing decisions until the end, with Frank Lampard's apparent handball from Antonio Valencia's 53rd-minute cross prompting one of a number of penalty appeals he thought should have been awarded to United.

"There were clear penalties kicks," Ferguson said. "If we were going to get the title we didn't need referees to get us there."

But United can count themselves fortunate that Wayne Rooney was not dismissed at the end of the first half for making a V-sign at Chelsea fans who verbally abused him after he went down to Branislav Ivanovic's tackle.

Rooney had been booked after a collision with David Luiz minutes earlier and the response to supporters could have constituted a second offence. Referee Howard Webb did not appear to see Rooney's gesture and the Football Association is expected to view footage of it if the official does make it part of his report into the game.

Ferguson's reflection on a title race he feels has been "finalised" by yesterday's result, included his observation that Chelsea and Arsenal have become United's prime title competitors. "For the last 17 or 18 years it's been [those two] and we have had to look to them as the main challengers," he said.

But Liverpool are the side whose record he has always wanted to reel in. Ever since Bob Paisley's side defeated his Aberdeen team in 1980 he has seen their record as the one to beat. Although yesterday's display was not vintage, Ancelotti (above) acknowledged United had been the better side over the course of the season.

"Manchester United played better than us and deserved to win this game; they deserved to win the title," he said.

"We have another two games, we want to attain second place in the table and finish the season well. I am honest to say that Chelsea didn't do its best this season but sometimes it can happen. Last year [when Chelsea won the Double] was a fantastic season. This year was a bit different. I don't know [why] really. I don't know this. I don't known what the owners think about the season. My opinion is we could do better. But we need more time to explain how we can do better."

Ryan Giggs, United's supreme player again, said: "Mathematically, it's not finished. We will try to get it done as soon as possible. Blackburn is a tough place to go but I'm sure we will have a lot of fans going for that won."

Giggs was equally incredulous that he, too, should be on the brink of a 12th title and surpass Liverpool. "It's a great achievement by the team and manager to haul back his rivals from the 70s, 80s and 90s. To do that would be special."

The omission of Patrice Evra, with a thigh injury, and Darren Fletcher, who is still getting back to full fitness after a virus, create anxiety for United, as neither is a player Ferguson will want to be without against Barcelona in the Champions League final.

 



Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
Paul McCartney backs the
people
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone