Ferguson sees Arsenal as main title rivals

November 1, 2007

Sir Alex Ferguson believes the Premier League title race looks to be between his Manchester United side and rivals Arsenal.

In an interview on the League Managers Association website ahead of the clash between the two teams on Saturday, Ferguson said: 'At the moment I think it's looking between Arsenal and ourselves at the top but you know football changes.

'When you come to January and it really does start, then you expect to see Liverpool and Chelsea.'

The United boss said he has built a squad capable of retaining the Premier League title.

'We have had some incredible injury situations, but over the last few years we've been like that at early season with a lot of injuries,' said Ferguson.

'I hope and pray that by the time we come to December - because the second half of the season is where it really begins - we have got a good strong squad together.

'I feel that once we get that strong squad together we are capable of going and winning the league again.'

Ferguson said the start of the season can put teams like Tottenham in a 'false position' because of the disruption caused by international call-ups.

'Once the internationals get out of the road, then I think you'll find that the Premier League will settle down, we'll get a true perspective of who is going to be really challenging and you will get some consistent results,' he said.

'At the moment there have been some surprise results.'

Ferguson also paid tribute to Carlos Tevez, who despite struggling to learn English is letting 'the football language talk'.

Tevez is being given private tuition at home to improve his English and Ferguson said he is working hard.

But the United boss could not hide his delight at securing the services of the man who he believes single-handedly kept West Ham in the Premier League last season.

'What I have noticed about the boy here, since he has come to us, is that when he loses the ball he wants it back which is a great attribute to have as a striker really, not every striker thinks that way. So he's got a lot of great things about him and most importantly that great enthusiasm to play.'

The Manchester United boss also revealed has been in touch with Jose Mourinho 'a couple of times' since he left Chelsea and believes he will end up working on the continent.

'I don't know if he will come back into the English game, I'm not sure of that,' Ferguson told the League Managers Association website.

'I think Jose will end up at a top team in Spain or Italy, I'm almost certain of that.

'There certainly is no-one on the radar at the moment obviously, he's taking a break and I think he's aiming to come back fresh.

'I don't think there's any problem about him coming back into management, I think it's where he comes back in and I don't think anyone has any clues to that at this moment in time.'

Ferguson warned that managers cannot be out of the game too long because they will become forgotten - although he conceded that will not happen to Mourinho.

'I was reading an article the other day where a club was talking to Brian Little and Brian has done great work in his management career at Darlington, Aston Villa, Leicester etc,' said Ferguson.

'He's been around quite a few clubs, Brian, but he's been out of the game for about three years now and you get forgotten about.

'It is ridiculous, but being out of the game that long is a handicap because with his qualities and his CV, Brian Little could quite easily manage 80% of the clubs in England.'