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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes only Liverpool can challenge the Red Devils for this season's Premier League title.

Aston Villa remain five points adrift of the league leaders, although Ferguson says Martin O'Neill's troops, Chelsea and Arsenal are not in the hunt.

However, the vastly-experienced Scottish tactician has been impressed by Villa's form and is keeping one eye on their results just in case.

Blues boss Luiz Felipe Scolari recently paid a dear price for Chelsea's poor results with his job, a move United's boss believes hinders them further.

Although Guus Hiddink, who has been handed the first-team reins until the end of the season, believes Chelsea are still in with a shout, Ferguson says stability is paramount for a realistic title challenge.
Played into our hands

"I think they have played into our hands and that the title race now is going to be between ourselves and Liverpool," he told United Review.

"However, I shall be keeping a wary eye on Aston Villa, who seem to have picked up the baton from Arsenal.

"I was shocked that Chelsea should part so soon with a manager of such great experience and proven success as 'Phil' Scolari.

"Their haste is a reflection of the sad way the game is going, with everyone from owners, the board members, the supporters and the media demanding instant success and showing absolutely no patience in the pursuit of their ambition."


Ferguson believes Chelsea's move for Hiddink is a positive one and that the experienced Dutch tactician can make an impact at Stamford Bridge.

"I would have thought it self-evident that winning prizes comes with stability and long-term planning," he continued.

"Yet so often, when a club is faced with a few problems, wisdom flies out of the window in the hope that a new man can bring about a quick fix.

"Chelsea have called in a very experienced manager in Guus Hiddink and I am sure he will make an impact.

"At the same time, he has to start from scratch, perhaps putting together his own staff and gathering round him players of his choice which may take him some time.",19528,11661_4939918,00.html
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