Ferguson readies for showdown with Chelsea

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Apalexferguson.jpg' class='caption'> Alex Ferguson has more than one reason to hope Manchester United wins at Sheffield United on Saturday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Alex Ferguson has more than one reason to hope Manchester United wins at Sheffield United on Saturday. It guarantees the Red Devils will be at least three points ahead of Chelsea before the two powerhouses meet at Old Trafford the following weekend. "The game with Chelsea will be a massive one and we want to be going into it with a three point lead," Ferguson said on Wednesday. United leads the English Premier League with 31 points and Chelsea is second with 28. While United looks Saturday for an 11th victory in 13 outings when it goes to Bramall Lane, Chelsea will be confident of beating struggler West Ham at home. The Blues have nine victories from 12 games. Victories for Ferguson's team against both Sheffield United and Chelsea would open up at least a six point advantage at the top - just over a third of the way into the campaign. "Chelsea's excellent starts to the last two league campaigns are the main reason why they've won the title," Ferguson said. "They've left us all catching our breath, but thankfully we've enjoyed a good opening to the season this time round." United also has an impressive goal difference of 27-5, compared with Chelsea's 22-7 and Ferguson believes that his team's fast start will give it more confidence going into the tough 10-game schedule of league matches between now and January 1. "The consistency factor comes into play now. After the game with Chelsea you then go into the December program which is always congested, tense and exhausting for everyone," Ferguson told the United Web site. "There is good ability in the team and a good understanding amongst the players. There is also a growing confidence within the squad but I don't want them to get too confident because there are a lot of potholes ahead and they'll trip up somewhere. "The important thing is how you recover," said the United manager, who guided the Red Devils to eight league titles in 11 years before the emergence of Chelsea three seasons ago. "You have to have the consistency that champions need and the kind that we've had many times in the past." (AP)

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