Fergie: City are 'screaming now'

  • Last Updated: December 9 2012, 11:10 GMT

Sir Alex Ferguson accepts the noisy neighbours are screaming at him now, but the Manchester United manager has no intention of going into hiding.

Sir Alex Ferguson: Up for the challenge
Sir Alex Ferguson: Up for the challenge

Ferguson's famous description of Manchester City followed United's epic 4-3 win at Old Trafford in September 2009 and came with a possible solution of turning up the TV a little bit louder.

It has not worked though.

Since then, City have beaten United in an FA Cup semi-final on their way to the first trophy of the Sheikh Mansour era in 2011.

And last season the Blues recorded a jaw-dropping 6-1 win at Old Trafford prior to a tense victory at the Etihad Stadium in April that put them in pole position to claim their first championship since 1968.

Although United head into Sunday's game with a three-point advantage at the top of the Barclays Premier League, City are still unbeaten and Ferguson concedes they offer the greatest threat to his own side's aspirations once more.

  • Premier League
Position Player Score
1 Man Utd 36
2 Man City 33
3 Chelsea 26
4 Tottenham 26

"They're screaming now," he said. "It will be close again between the two sides.

"We have that gap over Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham and it is difficult to think the two of us will collapse."

In typical fashion, Ferguson is up for the fight.

"It's great," he said. "Challenges are what we're made of. I've been lucky that, in my time here, I've been involved with great competitions against teams like Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and now City. There are no dull moments.

"Chelsea did something similar and we recognised it. That's the great thing about this club. We don't run from challenges.

"We move on and always try and improve. We should take great credit for that."

Certainly, while challenges may come and go, United never out of the picture.

Throughout the 20-year history of the Premier League they have never finished below third, a proud record unlikely to change this term.

Asked why other teams found such consistency so challenging, Ferguson added: "I have no idea. I couldn't answer that. I know we have been consistent.

"For 20 years we've been at the top, which is great credit to all the teams and all the players we've had here."

There does seem something special about this particular rivalry though.

The pain of that unforgettable final day last season, when United were technically champions when their last game was completed at Sunderland only to have the prize snatched away by Sergio Aguero with virtually the last kick of the entire campaign, was more acute for the fans because so many had to face their City counterparts on the Manchester streets.

Even slightly detached in upmarket Cheshire, Ferguson lives in close proximity to those of a blue persuasion.

Yet it seems the Scot has little interest in talk of revenge.

"I wasn't happy to lose the title and I keep talking to the players about that," Ferguson said. "But I have never entered into the revenge stuff, it doesn't work.

"Let's be straight. At this club you can't enjoy losing to anyone because the consequences are always huge.

"When we lose we're front page news. We get used to that but we don't like losing, no matter who it is to."

While Ferguson played down the impact of possibly opening up a six-point lead over City, any advantage would be welcome due to the possible benefits Roberto Mancini's side may accrue from their early exit from Europe.

"It's obviously an advantage to City," he said. "Fewer games mean fewer chances of injuries and they get a full week to prepare for games now.

"They do have a big squad, probably a bigger squad than most teams, and they need to keep everyone happy.

"That, in itself, is a bit of an encumbrance in terms of the manager picking the right teams and keeping everyone involved.

"And I do believe they'd rather have European football. That's the biggest disappointment for them."

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