• Premier League

Ferguson's title warning to City

ESPN staff
December 1, 2012 « Watch the FA Cup 3rd Round Draw live from 2.40pm | Chartbeat test »

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Sir Alex Ferguson has warned Manchester City that they will face a tough battle to remain at the top of the Premier League tree for a sustained period of time.

City got their hands on the Premier League title in dramatic fashion last season, pipping Ferguson's Manchester United to the crown on goal difference, and they have made an unbeaten start to the new season.

But it was United who went into the weekend's action at the top of the pile, with the Red Devils looking a far more potent force following the summer arrival of Robin van Persie, and Ferguson feels it is tougher to stay at the summit than get there.

"That's true that getting there is one thing but staying there for a long time is more difficult," Ferguson told ESPN during the build-up to United's clash with Reading. "I think that the top of the league has been challenging all the time for a long period. What you're dealing with is players getting older, players maybe not making the expectation, there may be one or two players you want to move on because maybe that player at another club who can improve you. So a lot of things happen at a club and therefore keeping yourself at the top sometime requires a lot of examination."

Van Persie was United's big summer signing, but Ferguson also brought in Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell and Alexander Buttner, and the Scot feels the future is bright at Old Trafford.

"It is not easy to keep the same team for four years," he said. "So, we like an influx of new players. At the moment we have about a dozen U23 players who can serve the club for the next eight years, seven years: [Jonny] Evans, [Chris] Smalling, [Phil] Jones, Kagawa, the two De Silvas, [Tom] Cleverly, [Danny] Wellbeck, Chicharito. We are quite strong on these positions and therefore it gives you a sort of a foundation which you can hopefully stay at the top a long time."

In the build-up to United's clash with Reading, you can see an extended interview with Sir Alex Ferguson. The United boss talks through a host of topics with Ray Stubbs

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