Sir Alex Ferguson sees no reason why Manchester United cannot win the Barclays Premier League title this season. The former Manchester United manager has also backed United and England skipper Wayne Rooney to rediscover his best form.
Manchester United are third in the Premier League with 16 points, two points behind derby rivals Manchester City. With Chelsea and Liverpool both struggling with an inconsistent form in the early part of the campaign, the title race has come down to the Manchester clubs and Arsenal.
Ferguson believes if United can stay close to the top of the table at the end of the year, the Red Devils will give themselves a good chance to win the league.
“It’s that kind of league, anyone can win it now. Leicester are the most consistent — they’ve only lost one game. If we get to New Year up near the top, we’ll have a good chance,” said Ferguson in an Exclusive interview with ESPN.
Ferguson says that the new summer signings will need time to settle down, but he is hopeful that the current squad will come good in time to challenge for honours.
“[Van Gaal has] certainly made a lot of changes and he’s bought (six) new players this year and, I think, five or six new players the year before. That takes time and it’s not easy. Coming to Manchester United, you do need time.
In my time, there was maybe Dwight Yorke who gave an immediate response — he was fantastic from day one. They are not always like that; he was an exception. It normally takes some time, particularly if they come from abroad, to settle in.”
One player who has come under a lot of criticism from the United fans is England and United skipper Wayne Rooney, who has struggled for consistency this season. Rooney has just managed one goal this season, but Ferguson believes the former Everton striker will soon regain his confidence and goals will follow.
“All the strikers I had, everyone relied on their confidence. When they were scoring they think they can never stop, when they’re not scoring they think they’re never going get a goal, it’s a fact. When I was a striker I was the same; my dad used to say make sure you hit the ball, don’t try and pass it in the net.
Eric Cantona had it, [Ruud] van Nistelrooy had it, [Andy] Cole had it and then the rich stream comes along again and they’re back to normal. I think we’ll have to wait, it’ll happen. [Rooney will] go on a run, don’t worry about that.”
The problem is Rooney has not only struggled to score goals while playing as an orthodox striker in the no. 9 role, but when deployed in the no. 10 role behind Anthony Martial he has failed to make any significant impact as well. Rooney needs to deliver and fast, and Ferguson’s words only serve to highlight the expectation England and United fans have from their senior-most striker.