Too early to talk of title, says Ferguson

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson is refusing to take anything for granted as Manchester United home in on a second successive Premier League title.

United dashed Arsenal's hopes of getting their hands on the trophy with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford on Sunday. Now only Avram Grant's Chelsea can prevent them retaining their crown.

But Ferguson has already seen a remarkable swing in the title race. Arsenal were five points clear two months ago; now they are nine adrift with four games remaining. That is why he remains guarded even though his side have taken 22 points from a possible 24, the only blip coming at Middlesbrough a week ago.

Ferguson said: "I am not counting my chickens, put it that way. I am not getting carried away as I know what football can do to you. My team is keen to do well and the players are showing great consistency.

"We never give up, which, of course, is a priceless quality to have. That's the kind of spirit we will need in our remaining games. Hopefully that will continue and we will win the league."

Next up are Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Saturday. Traditionally, Blackburn matches can be feisty encounters but it is a game Owen Hargreaves is well prepared for. The England midfielder scored the winner against Arsenal with a superb free-kick in the 72nd minute. It was only the former Bayern Munich star's second goal for the club and capped a fine fightback after Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty cancelled out the opening goal by Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor.

Hargreaves said: "It was a big result but every game is big now. We go to Blackburn in good spirits. We do not have a midweek game, so we can have a bit of a rest."

Ronaldo took his goal tally for the season to 38 despite having to retake the penalty. But in front of the Stretford End he kept a cool head to place his effort in the bottom corner beyond goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.

Hargreaves said: "It is as big a pressure as it gets and he wasn't fazed by it at all. That's why he is the best at the moment. In the second half he made some great runs, which helped us get some momentum. I am very pleased with the way the game finished. It was a tough match.

"Arsenal played some good football and gave it everything they had but we needed to get three points."

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