Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson claims the Premier League is a two horse race

While league leaders Manchester United are one, who does Ferguson see as the other title contender?

Sir Alex Ferguson said today that history suggested the Premier League campaign would be a two-horse race.

The Manchester United manager, who revealed that Nani would be out for five weeks with a hamstring injury, said ahead of his side's visit to Reading tomorrow there were reasons to believe that his club and Manchester City would fight it out - even though Rafael Benitez's Chelsea could not be discounted. "I don't think you could be certain of saying it's a two-horse race at this time. But over the years I've always hoped that you can say the top five can win the league but year after year its ended up being the two-horse race," he said. "Last year there was a big gap between ourselves and City and the rest. You just have to look at yourself. We want to say up there."

Ferguson offered a wry reflection of Prime Minister David Cameron's decision effectively to dismiss the central recommendation of the Leveson report. "You lot will be pleased Cameron let you off the hook!" he said to journalists.

Reading manager Brian McDermott has revealed that he has sought out Ferguson's advice through a phone call but the United manager - who said he will play Anders Lindegaard rather than David de Gea tomorrow - said the pressures were the same as when he started management in 1974.

"We do get that type of [phone call]" Ferguson said. "There's not problem taking a phone call - it's only ten minutes of your day. Harry [David] Bassett, Alan Curbishley and all these managers out of work also have a role to play. But you still have to win games. It's a results business. The nature of the type of owners we have got has changed [since I started in the job.] But you could not go ten days without winning even back then in '74. Even then there was some kind of pressure. That hasn't changed. The intensity of journalism has been more severe - you [the press] are under pressure a lot more. Agents have come in more, freedom of contracts has gone. But the pressure to get results is the same."

Nemanja Vidic is back in training after the ankle injury which has severely curtailed his last 18 months, Ferguson revealed, declaring hopes to play him against Cluj in next Wednesday's Champions League dead rubber.

Ferguson expects a tough afternoon in Berkshire against Reading. "I think the Premier Leaue is looking that way that away games are getting more difficult," he said. "Norwich fought like tigers and were really organised and motivated. When [McDermott] became manager it took him a little bit of time to get his ideas across. But he came from nowhere to take the league."

Roberto Mancini said today that Chelsea could challenge the Manchester clubs. "I don't think in this moment [it is a two-horse race]" he said. "We are on the top but it is difficult to say this because the season is wrong. I think [Chelsea] could be [title contenders]. At this moment I think [it is a three-horse race.] It's too long. It's difficult to say."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us