Friday 30 December 2011
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes Tottenham have the potential to be Barclays Premier League champions this season.
Harry Redknapp's team are seven points adrift of United and Manchester City at the top of the table on 38 points but can close the gap on their title rivals because they have a match in hand.
Only United, City and Stoke have beaten Tottenham all season and the north London club's attacking philosophy has impressed Ferguson, who will celebrate his 70th birthday on New Year's Eve when United play Blackburn at Old Trafford.
"Michael Carrick's form has been one of the key points in recent wins"
- Sir Alex Ferguson
"Tottenham can definitely win it," said the Scot.
"They play the best football in the country and their current form is the best in the country."
Ferguson has a selection headche to contend with following a bout of injuries to key defenders.
Central defenders Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand are struggling for fitness, Jonny Evans sustained a calf injury in the 5-0 win over Wigan on Boxing Day while Chris Smalling has tonsillitis and will not play on Saturday.
Although Ferguson is hopeful that Jones will be available for the 1245 kick-off, he has no problems pairing Patrice Evra and Michael Carrick at the heart of defence as he did for the second half against Wigan.
"We can cope, especially in home games," said Ferguson.
"Michael Carrick's form has been one of the key points in recent wins. He can pass the ball and has the height, pace and experience.
"That's where the strength of Steve Kean comes through"
- Sir Alex Ferguson
"It wasn't a problem for him against Wigan. He was flawless.
"Patrice also has the experience and the spring to head the ball. We will get on with it."
Blackburn's last Barclays Premier League visit to Old Trafford ended in a humiliating 7-1 thrashing, with Dimitar Berbatov scoring five goals.
Another defeat is likely to heap more pressure on Rovers boss Steve Kean, who Ferguson believes has been subjected to unnecessary criticism from his own fans as well as the media.
"The pressure on managers in the game today is enormous and they're always singled out in the press," he added.
"They humiliate managers, the press, just humiliate them. In the case of Steve Kean, when the supporters react that way you think 'there's something wrong with society'.
"That's where the strength of Steve Kean comes through. He's kept his dignity very well."