United won't blow it again - Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his Manchester United players they will feel the full effect of his "hairdryer" if they blow the title in the same manner as last season.
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As the Red Devils prepare to welcome Everton to Old Trafford on Sunday, Ferguson's mind has wandered back to the corresponding fixture last season.
At that time, they were five points ahead of Manchester City and having established a 4-2 lead inside the final 10 minutes, looked to have one hand on a 20th title.
But Everton's astonishing comeback was followed by defeat at City the following week, allowing their rivals to seize an initiative that, despite that amazing last-day drama, they did not lose.
"If I had to pick out one single match where we lost our title it would have to be that game," Ferguson told United Review.
"What I can say is that it won't happen again - or if it does, then put it this way, they will feel the full effect of the hairdryer."
United's failure condemned them to a rare barren season.
Throughout a reign that stretches back to 1986, Ferguson has only had eight of them, including his first three years at the United helm.
It contrasts sharply with Arsene Wenger's experiences at Arsenal, who have won nothing since 2005 and was something Ferguson touched on during an exclusive interview with BBC's Football Focus.
When asked whether he could imagine going five years without a trophy, Ferguson replied: "It wouldn't happen. No chance. I don't believe I would."
Indeed, with his side currently nine points clear of Manchester City, facing a home FA Cup fifth-round tie against Reading on February 18 and a mouthwatering Champions League encounter with Real Madrid looming, United are still on track to repeat their historic 1999 Treble campaign.
Yet it is hardly worth thinking about until those meetings with Real - and a Cristiano Ronaldo reunion - have been negotiated successfully.
For Jose Mourinho has an impressive personal record against Ferguson.
And the Red Devils chief freely admits the Real coach is one of the few men he prefers not to engage in psychological battles against.
"Jose enjoys it more than I do," said Ferguson of the mind games warfare.
"He is brilliant at it. He plays games too. He has that mischievous part. You are never quite sure what he is up to.
"I don't contest that, because he is a clever bugger.
"I let him get on with it. As long as he keeps bringing a decent bottle of wine I let him off."
United have a new hero to celebrate in Robin van Persie, who will go down as one of Ferguson's most astute signings if he carries on at the present rate.
Van Persie's presence has given the Red Devils a healthy advantage over Manchester City, who could yet be opponents in the FA Cup as the two clubs continue to compete for major honours.
"They are our danger," said Ferguson.
"A year ago I made the point that we will be playing them in big games all the time now, whether it is the FA Cup, the Community Shield or challenging for the league.
"We accept the challenge. We are not afraid of it.
"Look at the challenge Sir Matt (Busby) had after losing his team in 1958. It is the kind of challenge Manchester United are good at."
The question is how long Ferguson will be leading them.
He seems to have recovered from the health scare he suffered at the end of last season when he was taken to hospital in his native Scotland after suffering nose bleeds it transpired were caused by an excessive number of flights.
But Ferguson is acutely aware that, at 71, nothing can be taken for granted.
"This question (how long will you go on?) comes up more and more because I get older. It is a fact of life. I can't avoid that," said Ferguson.
"It will definitely be me (who decides). The issue is how I feel in myself.
"As you get older, you are not guaranteed your health, no-one is when they get into their 70s.
"I just touch wood that my health remains for a long time yet.
"At the moment, it remains hunky dory. You never know. We are all vulnerable to age. That is the question. How will I be in a year, two years, three, whatever."