Premier League

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson praises hunger shown by squad

Sir Alex Ferguson: Feels his side are in the 'right shape' for the final push

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Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson admits his squad are showing a 'great appetite' to reclaim the Premier League title this season.

The Red Devils are currently sitting a healthy nine points clear of their neighbours and reigning champions Manchester City.

But with 13 games remaining, the Scot feels his players are in the right shape to deliver a landmark 20th league title.

"You hope that the players realise that the league is there for them (to win)," Ferguson told this month's issue of Inside United.

"It's obviously a big challenge and we've got the FA Cup and the Champions League as well, and managing the squad is going to be important when it comes to picking the right teams. That's down to myself and the staff.

"It's always an important time. The players have shown great appetite for it - they showed that against Tottenham in the way they fought like hell to get a result and were unlucky it went against them at the end. But we're definitely in the right shape."

United take on Everton at home on Sunday before travelling to Spain to take on Real Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie.

And Ferguson says that competition for places will be as fierce as ever as players start to come back from injuries, with the club still battling in three major competitions.

"We've got players back from injury, which is important, and I usually find that during the second half of the season when the big games come along everyone is fit," he said.

"We haven't had a great run in the FA Cup for the last few years and haven't been in the final for nearly six years, that's a big attraction for us and this month we have the first game against Real Madrid, which is going to be a highlight.

"(In the league) you hope that the return we've had from the big games is going to be significant. We've won at Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and we were 30 seconds away from a really good result at Tottenham.

"All in all we've had a good return from these kinds of games and hopefully they will prove significant at the end of the season."