Manchester United can only blame themselves says Neville

Gary Neville has admitted Manchester United will only have themselves to blame if their bid for a record fourth successive league title fails on Sunday.

Although United have succeeded in taking the battle to the last day, unless Wigan can claim an unlikely point at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will end the Red Devils' recent dominance of the Premier League.

It is a scenario that has been on the cards since before Christmas, by which time United had already lost five games and seemed incapable of adapting to life without Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.

The improvement since then has been impressive, with the exception of one chronic fortnight which included a European exit, a home defeat to Chelsea and a draw at Blackburn that in the end, looks to have signalled the death knell to their title bid.

Any lingering hope almost certainly disappeared with Liverpool's failure to produce an adequate performance against Carlo Ancelotti's side at the weekend.

And whilst there were some grumblings of discontent from the Old Trafford faithful about the Merseysiders' poor performance, Neville prefers United to look at themselves.

"When you leave it in the hands of others you have to take the punishment for it," he told MUTV.

"We hope that something happens on Sunday and we live in hope. If you had asked us after the Blackburn game we would have said all hope was gone.

"But we will be kicking ourselves on Sunday if it doesn't go our way. The mistakes we have made have been unusual. Hopefully we don't live to regret it."

Not that it has been a season without its highlights.

The Carling Cup remains fourth on the list of priorities but in winning it, United denied Manchester City a chance to reach their first major final since 1976.

And, in Wayne Rooney's 34-goal contribution, the Red Devils know they have another genuine world-class talent on their books following Ronaldo's world record exit for Real Madrid.

Rooney scooped a hat-trick of personal awards at last night's club player-of-the-year ceremony to go alongside the PFA and Football Writers' accolades that have already headed his way.

"I have progressed since I have been here," said Rooney, in typically understated fashion, leaving it up to Sir Alex Ferguson to pay a more fulsome tribute.

"The great thing about Wayne is that he always plays his part for the team," said the United boss.

"His energy and workrate is related to the team ethic.

"He produces magnificent moments and his goalscoring has improved.

"He is able to concentrate on being in the box more than he used to. That is to do with maturity.

"He always wanted to be all over the pitch. Wide left, wide right, everywhere.

"Now he is using the energy the right way and the results are showing."

Ferguson has already begun planning for the future by signing Chris Smalling from Fulham and Javier Hernandez, who will be part of the Mexico World Cup squad in South Africa this summer.

More changes are likely too given Ferguson's statement he feels it is time to freshen up his squad.

The futures of a number of senior players, including Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick and Anderson, are bound to be mentioned, although not those of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Neville, who last week joined his fellow old-timers in signing a one-year contract extension.

"There was doubt," he said about his continued stay at Old Trafford.

"If you watched me play around Christmas there was doubt.

"But I have enjoyed playing over the last few months.

"I have played in a lot of the bigger games and stayed fit. That has been key.

"The last couple of years have been frustrating due to injury. If it had gone on like that this season it would probably have been my last.

"But whilst the club want me to stay I will."

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Life and Style
Men with beards rejoice: Your beard probably doesn't harbour faeces-like bacteria
health
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before