Sun, Oct 22, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Ninety points will secure title: Fergie

BEATING CHELSEA The Manchester United boss believes that his team must finish above the defending champions to have any chance of lifting this year's Premiership crown

AFP , MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson laughs during a press conference on Monday at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England.

PHOTO: AFP

Sir Alex Ferguson admits that Manchester United may be forced to break the 90-point barrier if they are to beat Chelsea to this season's Premiership title.

Current leaders United face traditional rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford today in a game billed by the home side's French defender Patrice Evra as the "biggest club game in the world."

Despite the recent successes of London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea, United and Liverpool remain the most successful and best supported teams in English football, but both clubs have been forced to watch the championship head to the capital for the past three seasons.

While Liverpool's hopes of claiming their first title since 1990 have been hit by three successive Premiership away defeats, United appear well set to challenge Chelsea's dominance.

However, manager Ferguson believes that it will take a huge points haul for United to claim their ninth title in 14 years this term.

Ferguson said: "We've got ourselves in a decent position so far this season, but the name of the game is about not making mistakes and trying to be up there all the time. Chelsea are still the team we want to beat, though, and if we finish ahead of them, we must have a hell of a chance."

"It doesn't matter who you are up against, be it Liverpool or Arsenal, you have to do something in these games, just as we did against Wigan and Newcastle. Points are points and we are going to have to amass something like 90 points this year," Ferguson added.

Liverpool go into the game chasing their 50th league victory against United, but Rafa Benitez's team have failed to win away from home in the Premiership since May.

Another defeat today would leave them eleven-points adrift of United and Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina fears that will be too great a gap to bridge.

He said: "We know we are losing ground. We are too far behind because eight points behind Man United is too many points. We have to keep going and fighting for everything, but if they win [today] it will be 11 points between us and that could be too much."

Meanwhile, United defender Evra admits that Ferguson's men must prove their ability to beat the big teams after losing their unbeaten record at home to title rivals Arsenal last month.

Evra said: "Manchester United against Liverpool is the biggest club game in the world. It is pretty big in France when PSG play Marseille but nothing like this."

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