United's weakened foundations put Ferguson's future on shaky ground

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The Independent Football

Manchester United's frustrating 1-1 draw against Everton on Sunday has all but ruled Sir Alex Ferguson's side out of the Premiership race. It was the third draw this season at Old Trafford and the pressure is not relenting on the manager following the Champions' League exit to Benfica.

"We created enough chances to win the game but it was the same old story," said the United winger Ryan Giggs. Manchester United must beat Wigan tomorrow and Aston Villa on Saturday and hope Arsenal defeat Chelsea at Highbury 24 hours later to reduce the gap on Jose Mourinho's side to a manageable six points.

Coming so soon after the defeat in Lisbon, the draw only served to underline the frailties in a United side which many believe needs an overhaul during the January transfer window if Ferguson is to remain manager beyond the summer.

Wayne Rooney last night warned that United can forget their title hopes if they slip up against Wigan tomorrow. Rooney said: "We need to win our games now and I don't think we can afford any more slip-ups."

However, the striker insisted United are not in crisis. He added: "You have to take the good days with the bad. It was a bad result against Everton but hopefully we can turn it around.

"We want to do it for ourselves, for the manager, for the supporters. It will be a tough game against Wigan but we will be ready."