Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Fergie says no plans for signings

OPTIMISTIC The Manchester United manager said his side have a real chance of claiming top spot in England in the New Year after their main rivals’ recent slip-ups

AGENCIES , MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Rio Ferdinand lifts the trophy as he and his Manchester United teammates celebrate on Sunday after beating Ecuador’s Liga Deportiva Universitaria Quito 1-0 in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup in Yokohama, Japan.

PHOTO: AP

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said he was not planning to make any signings in next month’s transfer window.

“I do not think there will be any January transfers,” local media quoted Ferguson as saying. “I am happy with what I have got.”

Ferguson believes United’s success in winning the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan can propel the team towards retaining the English Premier League title.

The European champions added the global crown to their honors list by defeating Ecuador’s Liga de Quito in Yokohama on Sunday.

Ferguson expects the confidence generated by that achievement to boost the club’s prospects of winning more trophies in the second half of the season.

“I hope that happens,” he told reporters at United’s training ground on Wednesday. “There is no question that winning in Japan has given the club and the players a great boost. It was a great achievement.”

“The most important thing is that the team played well, which was surprising really because a lot of the players found that their sleep patterns weren’t quite so good over there,” the Scot said.

“That proved a bit difficult, but nonetheless, the lads showed good enthusiasm during the games and good concentration, which was the key thing,” he said. “We have come through it well and put in some good performances.”

“After the game against Quito, the players had a great time together. We were up early the next morning to get away, so not many slept too well, but they had their time together and that was good for them,” Ferguson said.

During their nine-day stay in Japan, United watched as Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal all failed to collect maximum points from their two Premier League games during that period.

And Ferguson admits that the failings of United’s rivals gives his side, who have two games in hand on their fellow title contenders, a real chance of claiming top spot in the New Year.

“A similar thing happened when we went to Brazil for the world championship in 2000. While we were away, our title rivals Arsenal and Leeds both failed to get a win,” he said. “I wasn’t surprised that Arsenal and Liverpool drew with each other, but I was a bit worried about Chelsea going to Everton, simply because of Everton’s record of not having won for 20 games against Chelsea.”

“I would obviously rather be top on Christmas Day, but I always wanted to be close to the leaders going into the New Year and we have managed that,” Ferguson said.

“Teams chasing the title always drop points in March and April, even when you don’t expect them to do so, and that will happen again this year,” he said. “But we have nine games coming up in the next month and, fortunately, we have the squad to cope with that.”

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