x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Ferguson hints United's young talent will be a part in title defence

Sir Alex Ferguson is already planning to add more league titles to Manchester United's 19 with on-loan players Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck ready to step up.

BLACKBURN // Sir Alex Ferguson is convinced that Manchester United's young players have the desire and the quality to extend their record total of league titles.

The 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday earned Ferguson a 12th crown and United a 19th, passing Liverpool's total, and he immediately set his sights on getting the club's 20th and 21st.

And he began by hinting that Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck, on loan at Wigan Athletic and Sunderland, respectively, will have a part to play in the defence of their title next season.

"The hunger will always be there because that's my job, to make sure the hunger's there," he said. "We try to select properly and we try to produce players properly, but all the young players that have come through over the years have had that quality, [John] O'Shea and [Darren] Fletcher and [Wes] Brown, Cleverley and young Danny Welbeck, they've all got the qualities we expect of a player at Manchester United."

The current United side have been deemed one of the weaker in Ferguson's 25-season reign and the 69-year-old was reluctant to compare the class of 2011 to some of their predecessors.

"It's difficult to say. We've had some great teams at the club," he said. "The important thing is, we are able to say we've had great teams. That's been my privilege. The 1994 team, 1999 [treble winners], we've had a few teams and they've all lived up to the expectations and won things. You've got to win things at this club; that's the one important thing."

Ferguson said that the defining moment in United's league campaign came at West Ham United last month when, after trailing 2-0 at half time, his side recovered to win 4-2. He believes those battling qualities will stand them in good stead in the Champions League final against Barcelona on May 28.

"They don't give in," he said. "That's our great quality. We've got good ages in the team, we've got a bit of experience and a lot of good legs in the team. We've got speed. I know we're playing a terrific team but would you back against us? I don't think you would. I think we're capable of getting a result in the final."