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Ferguson ready for City challenge


Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to accept the challenge of Manchester City as he starts to plan a 20th Premier League title triumph.

Ferguson was happy to join in the immediate celebrations at championship number 19 but it wasn't long before he had moved on to the next challenge. To Barcelona in the Champions League final at Wembley on May 28, and beyond that, to another championship fight, when City, flushed from ending a 35-year trophy drought, are bound to be a factor.

"I will not be taking it easy because we have won the title," he pledged on MUTV. "The ambition of the club doesn't alter. It doesn't go away. That is the responsibility as manager of Manchester United. You always expect Liverpool to challenge us. You always expect Manchester City to challenge us."

He added: "The great thing about us is that we accept challenges. It doesn't matter where it comes from. Our job is to get better and we will try to be better next year."

There are a few issues for Ferguson to resolve.

Although chief executive David Gill did not name the goalkeeper identified to replace retiring Edwin van der Sar in an interview with Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme, it is widely thought to be Atletico Madrid's David de Gea.

A couple of additional new faces are anticipated, including Wesley Sneijder, while Ferguson also confirmed the likely return from loan of Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Mame Biram Diouf from Sunderland, Wigan and Blackburn respectively.

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A decision about his future from Paul Scholes is still awaited though, with Gill not entirely convinced the veteran midfielder will extend his stay at Old Trafford.

"It wouldn't surprise us if Paul Scholes retired," said Gill. "On the other hand, we are enjoying the success we are having, so at the end of the season, he will have a conversation with Sir Alex about that.

"I am sure he will let us know his decision and we will respect it. He has been a brilliant player for many years. It is interesting that while Ryan got his 12th title on Saturday, that was Paul's 10th. It shows what he has achieved for us and what an absolutely fantastic player he has been."

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