United can still halt Chelsea's march to title, says Queiroz

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The Independent Football

Old Trafford's assistant manager remains the staunchest defender of United's tactical development in recent years, a style that attracted further scrutiny on Saturday when they dropped their seventh home point of the season to Tottenham and were therefore unable to capitalise on Chelsea's unexpected draw at bottom club Everton 24 hours later.

Although Ferguson admitted last week that the reigning champions would have to err for United to re-enter the title race, his assistant is adamant they can do so of their own accord when Chelsea arrive at Old Trafford on 6 November.

Queiroz said: "We know how many points there are between us but we also know there are a lot of games to play and in football it only takes one game to change everything.

"We trust ourselves and our strategy and we believe that we will be there at the end. If there is one team that has a duty, an obligation, to open up the championship it is Manchester United. We still have six points to play for with Chelsea and if we perform as we expect we will get them and the championship will open again.

"The most disappointing thing at the weekend was that we could not get the second goal to kill the game off against Spurs, not that Chelsea dropped points at the same time. You don't succeed because of other teams, you only become champions by performing well and getting the points to finish top yourself."

Queiroz's foresight is not shared by Gary Neville, however, who believes United must overtake Wigan, Tottenham and Charlton before entertaining thoughts of a first title in three years.

"At the moment, we should not be talking about catching the top team, we should be talking about the three teams directly above us," said the injured full-back. "Chelsea are in a strong position and, after 10 games, we didn't want to be talking about having to win our game in hand, and also to beat them to get back to four points. There is no point talking about it, we have to do it. We have dropped a lot of points at home already and it is not good enough. It is a worry because you expect to build a championship challenge round your home form."

United face Barnet in the third round of the Carling Cup tonight with Queiroz warning there can be no repeat of the complacency that produced an embarrassing home draw with Exeter City in the FA Cup last season.

"We have reminded the lads about Exeter," he said. "No matter what research and knowledge we have on Barnet it will be a totally different team we face in terms of motivation and attitude, and we must be ready for that."