Ferguson: English Premier League title race is not over

Alex Ferguson saw his side suffer a shock 1-0 defeat at Wigan to throw the English Premier title race wide open.

Story highlights

  • EPL is the hardest league in the world to win believes Alex Ferguson
  • Ferguson warning Manchester United could drop more points in the title run-in
  • Arch-rivals Manchester City five points behind with five games to play
  • Two teams meet in likely title decider on April 30 at Etihad Stadium

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is warning that the English title race is not over despite his side holding a five-point lead over Manchester City with just five games remaining.

Ferguson's team were beaten 1-0 at Wigan Wednesday, allowing their city rivals to close up with a 4-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion.

City manager Roberto Mancini raised eyebrows when he appeared to write off his team's title chances in a post-match interview.

"United are a fantastic team and I don't think they can lose five points," Mancini told gathered reporters.

"For us it's important and they have a fantastic spirit. I think five points is too much."

But Ferguson is not being fooled by Mancini's apparent concession of the championship.

"It's the hardest league in the world," he told CNN.

"We know how difficult it is and what happens in the run in and has always happened, teams drop points," he said.

Ferguson will be hoping that his team do not slip up again when they host Aston Villa Sunday because by then City could cut the gap to just two points with a win at Norwich in the early kickoff in the English Premier League Saturday.

Despite the shock defeat at Wigan, the legendary manager is upbeat about his team's performances after overhauling long time front runners City at the top of the standings.

"You know two months back nobody would have thought for a minute that we could be in this position and we have to just take advantage of it," he said.

"We are in good form, taking away the Wednesday game where I think we didn't play well.

"Our form has been consistently good and that consistency hopefully gets us the title."

Ferguson will be hoping that his side have wrapped up a record 20th English crown before their trip to City's Etihad Stadium on April 30, a match being billed as the championship decider.

Less impressive has been United's form in European club competition, with a shock failure to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League, then a two-leg defeat to Athletic Bilboa in the Europa League.

Ferguson is hoping United's poor performances and those of the other English teams are a "one-off" and results will improve next season.

"Over the last decade they have all done particularly well, getting to semifinals, finals, Chelsea, ourselves, Liverpool and Arsenal have all been in finals.

"So it's been an unusual season, hopefully a one-off and that English teams do much better next year," he added.

The 70-year-old Ferguson celebrated 25 years in charge at Old Trafford earlier this season, during which United have won 12 English Premier League titles as well as claiming the Champions League, in their famous treble winning season of 1998-99, with further success in the 2008 final against Chelsea.

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