In the comfort zone? Don't you believe it... Alex Ferguson tells Manchester United to avoid the 'rubbish attitude'

Complacency is a fear for the Manchester United manager in this year's title race

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The Independent Football

They are four points clear at the top of the table, with a game in hand over their noisy neighbours. They even have a comparatively kind run of matches to come. But Sir Alex Ferguson is not about to ease up. Far from it - in typically straight-talking style, he has warned Manchester United to steer clear of the “rubbish attitude” of believing they are entering a Premier League comfort zone.

With the notable exception of a visit by Everton on 10 February, United do not meet any more members of England's elite until April, when Manchester City head to Old Trafford hoping to inflict major damage to their rivals' title aspirations.

However, as City dropped two valuable points at QPR last night, meaning United can open up a seven-point lead if they beat Southampton this evening, some Red Devils fans are beginning to think their team are going to cruise to a record 20th championship.

Ferguson cannot understand such an attitude, however. After all, it was a defeat at Wigan last term that sent United into the downward spiral that ultimately cost them so dearly.

And events at QPR, in addition to Southampton's recent upturn in form, underlines Ferguson's belief that nothing can be taken for granted.

"A glance at our next few fixtures and the Premier League table may have a few fans drooling because, with the exception of Everton, we have a run of matches against teams from the bottom half of the table," Ferguson told United Review.

"Some might feel this presents us with an opportunity to turn the screw and put our championship rivals under big pressure.

"I agree to the extent that we are at a vital stage of the season and that we must keep picking up points through the present busy period.

"But let's not fool ourselves into believing that we are now entering a phase against the lower teams that will present us with easy pickings.

"That would be a rubbish attitude and if we slip into that kind of attitude I can't think of an easier way to blunt our challenge, because there just aren't any easy games in this league of ours.

"On their day, teams can beat anyone. That is what happened to us last season with some surprising results during the run-in costing us the league title."