Sam Allardyce has urged old friend Sir Alex Ferguson not to give up on the Premier League title just yet.
Manchester United's hopes of becoming the first side to win four championships on the trot were all but extinguished yesterday when they were forced to settle for a goalless draw at Blackburn.
The result left United a point adrift of Chelsea, having played a game more, with only four matches remaining to do something about it.
Even Ferguson conceded the title appears to have "slipped away" this season.
But Allardyce, remembering the reaction that accompanied a similarly disappointing draw for Chelsea at Ewood Park just three short weeks ago, does not want his racing buddy to concede defeat just yet.
"We have done a good bit of damage to Manchester United's title hopes," agreed Allardyce.
"But when Chelsea drew here everyone said they were finished. Look what they have done.
"United might win all four games and Chelsea might slip up somewhere along the line."
Allardyce now boasts a remarkable record of just three losses in 28 home games since succeeding Paul Ince in the middle of last term.
He has guided Rovers into the safety of mid-table and is already starting to plan for next season.
The real story revolves around United though, and the manner of their slide to obscurity after appearing to be on the brink of another glorious campaign just a fortnight ago.
They might have dominated for long spells yesterday but, without Wayne Rooney, United were largely bereft of attacking invention in the final third.
Antonio Valencia wasted their best chance just before the break and, after half-time, their pressure brought no reward.
"It was a bad result," said Ferguson.
"We had to win every game going into today and we didn't do it. That is the disappointment.
"It has slipped away from us today.
"It is going to be very difficult to win this league. We have a lifeline if Chelsea blow it.
"But to my eyes they have an easy game against Bolton on Tuesday. We would expect them to win that and it will put them four points clear."
Ferguson's players were in the wars too. Ryan Giggs felt a tweak in his hamstring, John O'Shea limped off on his first start since November and most worryingly, Rio Ferdinand was reduced to a passenger for the final 10 minutes after picking up a groin injury that will concern Fabio Capello.
"Rio dislocated his finger but ended up with a groin injury," said Ferguson.
"We effectively had 10 men on the pitch at the end, which is not good when you are chasing a victory."Reuse content