Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson expects arch-rivals Manchester City to challenge for the Premier League title next season.The Eastlands outfit have significantly strengthened their squad since the takeover by Sheikh Mansour, and have managed to break their long-standing trophy drought to win the FA Cup while also qualifying for the Champions League during their last campaign.
Now the Old Trafford boss believes that Roberto Mancini’s men will get a boost after having won a trophy last season, and reckons they will now have the belief to mount a title challenge.
“There was a period not so long ago when City were actually in the second division and they were never a thorn in our flesh,” Ferguson was quoted as saying in The Mirror.
“Whereas every year in the past we’ve had to contend with Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool.”‘
“But winning a trophy does you a power of good. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. It takes the pressure off the manager and gives confidence to the players.”
“We’ve experienced it ourselves over the years and we expect City to be challengers next season.”
“But nothing changes. One of the teams will always be a thorn in our flesh, whether we like it or not – possibly all four of them.”
Ferguson also insisted that he had no intention of calling time on his career, despite having realised his ambition of knocking Liverpool off their perch – by winning the 19th league title last season.
“Absolutely not,” said the experienced manager, when quizzed about whether he had thought about bringing his career to a halt.
“Not at all. I’m not even thinking about it. You just have to keep going.”
“The challenge, whether it’s with young players or old players, is that you have to do something. There’s always that expectation at this club.”