Victory will clinch title, says Ferguson

Manchester United will go on to secure a record 19th title if they defeat Chelsea in this weekend's Premier League shoot-out, Sir Alex Ferguson said on Friday.

Updated: May 07, 2011 11:33 IST
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Manchester: Manchester United will go on to secure a record 19th title if they defeat Chelsea in this weekend's Premier League shoot-out, Sir Alex Ferguson said on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of United's showdown with Chelsea on Sunday, Ferguson said he was convinced that a win against the reigning champions would guarantee the title.

United, who lead Chelsea by three points going into the game, would need only a point from their final two matches against Blackburn and Blackpool to seal the title if they win on Sunday.

"Everyone is aware of the magnitude of Sunday's game," said Ferguson. "If we win, we should win the league."

Chelsea have hauled themselves back into contention after trailing United by 15 points in March, with the gap narrowing last weekend when United were beaten 1-0 by Arsenal.

Ferguson will recall his big guns on Sunday, however, after relying on a second-string XI to dispatch Schalke 04 in the Champions League semi finals.

"It is a game we are looking forward to. Last Sunday's result (at Arsenal) has certainly brought us an awareness of how important this week's game is," Ferguson said.

"It is one of the reasons why I picked the team I did on Wednesday. I wanted to give us a real chance."

"We will have a fresh team on Sunday and that makes a difference at this time of the season. It should be a fantastic game."

United will also head into the game defending a home record that Ferguson believes is the "best in Europe."

The "Theatre of Dreams" has been a fortess for visiting teams this season, with United dropping just two points on home soil over the campaign, the only blemish a draw against West Brom back in October.

They are the top scorers on their own patch, have conceded the fewest goals and have won 16 times from their 17 home games, a stark contrast to their below-par away form.

"Our home record is fantastic," Ferguson said. "It’s probably the best in Europe. It has to be again now as it’s a big game.

"I must say some of our performances at home have been absolutely terrific. We’ve always said anyway it’s a very difficult league.

"It's a hard league to win as we have been involved in the championship race for almost the last 19 years. So we know what it's like."

United have a virtually fully-fit squad to choose from for the run-in, with Darren Fletcher available again after missing 12 consecutive games with a mystery virus.

Fletcher made his comeback from a two-month absence by making a 20-minute substitute appearance in midweek win over Schalke.

Fletcher won’t be rushed back and Ferguson is looking towards the Champions League final against Barcelona on May 28 as his long-term goal.

But Ferguson insists he will be a key figure with his side fighting on two fronts for silverware.

"It’s a step forward and there’s no question about that. The boy has a bit to do yet," Ferguson said.

"But as far as the final is concerned it’s almost three weeks to achieve that. If that is the target, and hopefully if he does reach it, it’s a big boost to us as we all know he is big-game player."

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