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Friday, July 20, 2012
Sir Alex: "We are the team to beat"

ESPN staff

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes his side will go into the new Premier League season as favourites despite finishing as runners-up to Manchester City.

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Sir Alex explained that United have shown time and time again that they have the ability to bounce back from losing their Premier League crown, only once failing to immediately win back their crown after having it snatched from them.

They were champions in 1995-96 after Blackburn Rovers had won the title, then claimed it back from Arsenal in 1998-99 and 2001-02 before taking it back from Chelsea in 2010-11. Only between 2003-06, when Arsenal and Chelsea (twice) won the title have United gone more than one season without winning the Premier League.

"People may say Manchester City are the team to beat but I don't agree,'' said Ferguson. "We are the team to beat because of the way we react and the way we have bounced back from losing the league in the past. We will be strong this season.''

Sir Alex has so far secured the services of Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund and Nick Powell from Crewe, with others including Leighton Baines, Luca Modric and Robin van Persie linked with a switch, but the boss refused to be moved on the matter simply saying: "It's difficult to say where we are with that at this moment in time."

It was again confirmed that this will be Paul Scholes' last campaign, but Ryan Giggs could play another season which will take him well past his 40th birthday and close to 1000 appearances.

"If we can get a good season out of Paul he will be satisfied with himself,'' he added. "On the other hand, Ryan can play for another year after this.''

Sir Alex also revealed he is going to limit the number of flights he takes to look after his health following a serious nose bleed he suffered in Glasgow two months ago.

"I took too many flights that week," said Ferguson. "It was a bit silly to be flying as much as I did. Belfast, Berlin, Newcastle, Manchester, Belfast, Manchester, up to Glasgow. It was seven flights in five days.

"If you do a straight 12-hour flight to South Africa and back there wouldn't have been the same problem. But I was going up and down all the time. It's not as if it was anything to do with my heart but when the club doctor explained what he thought it seemed reasonable.

"We are all vulnerable to age aren't we? It doesn't come without penalties. Maybe that was a way of telling me to slow down a bit in terms of travelling."

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