'There is a long way to go' - Ferguson

February 12, 2008

Sir Alex Ferguson insists there is plenty of life left in the Premier League title race despite Manchester United slipping five points behind leaders Arsenal.

Reigning champions United's defeat to local rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday and Arsenal's subsequent victory over Blackburn have left Arsene Wenger's team in pole position with a dozen games remaining.

Chelsea are are one place and three points in arrears of United, who face both London challengers within a fortnight in April.

'It was an important weekend for Arsenal in that ourselves and Chelsea dropped points,' United manager Ferguson told Sky Sports.

'But points will be dropped by the top teams. There is a long way to go and it makes it interesting now. It's going to be a really good, tight finish.

'It's something the neutrals will all be enthralled by. We know the job we've got to do. Arsenal still have to come to Old Trafford and they have got to go to Chelsea.

'It's like I said at the start of the season - I think it will go to the wire.'

Ferguson was speaking at the launch of the Vodacom Challenge, a summer tournament held in South Africa which United will take part in this summer.

The three-team tournament will also feature top South African club sides Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates between July 19-26.

The Red Devils last participated in the event in 2006, when they lost in the final to the Chiefs on a penalty shoot-out.

United will face each side, before a Soweto derby between the Chiefs and the Pirates for the right to face the Barclays Premier League champions again in the final.

'The 2008 Vodacom Challenge will mark Manchester United's third visit to South Africa and will create a platform for many a rising star to elevate their level of play in order to strive to become a regular member of the Manchester United starting line-up for the new English Premiership season,' Ferguson said.

Meanwhile, new signing Manucho pipped household names Samuel Eto'o, of Barcelona, and Chelsea's Didier Drogba to make the all-star representative team of the African Nations Cup.

Manucho, 24, scored four times for Angola at the tournament and now switches to Panathinaikos, where he will remain on loan for the rest of the current season.