Fergie - League is so tough
United boss believes six sides could compete for title in 2011/12
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: September 7, 2011 4:54pm
Ferguson: Is hoping to keep United on top of the Premier League pile
Sir Alex Ferguson admits winning the Premier League will be as tough as ever this season, with as many as six teams in the running.
Manchester United secured an historic 19th top-flight crown last term, but they face a battle to keep their hands on that particular piece of silverware.
Chelsea and Arsenal are always there or thereabouts, while big-spending Manchester City, rejuvenated Liverpool and ambitious Tottenham will also have their eyes on the prize.
United boss Ferguson concedes that the race to secure top honours in English football will be keenly contested, with the competition increasing year on year.
"I think you could say that five or six teams will be involved," he told Sky Sports News HD.
"It's always hard to win the league. It's a league that if you look at it, in the south you have the London teams like Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea and then you have ourselves, Manchester City and Liverpool in the north.
"It's a really, really difficult league to win."
United have put considerable faith in their youngsters this season and Ferguson admits it is important to inject new blood into a side on a regular basis if you intend to remain competitive.
"You have to try and build teams that will last for a few years," he said.
"We have done that quite successfully over the years. This is another example of trusting the young players and giving them opportunities."
One man who will be hoping to slip back into the fold over the next few weeks is Darren Fletcher, with the midfielder yet to make a domestic appearance this season.
The Scotland international has, however, just taken in two games in the space of four days with his country and appears to have shaken off a mystery virus that laid him low towards the end of the 2010/11 campaign.
"It was important for him to get a game," Ferguson said of his fellow Scot.
"He was back training with us, but the team had started so well so opportunities hadn't arisen for him before he went to play for Scotland.
"The fact that he has gone there and done so well is major for his recovery."