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Monday 22 April 2013

Ferguson eyes perfect ending to set record

Manchester United manager says his team can overhaul Chelsea record of 95 points

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Shinji Kagawa will be better next season

Sir Alex Ferguson believes that despite a recent blip in form his Manchester United team can beat Chelsea’s record total of 95 points by winning their final five matches in the Barclays Premier League.

United will be crowned champions of the Barclays Premier League for a 13th time if they beat Aston Villa in Monday night's match at Old Trafford, but Ferguson wants his team not ease up if they do win as they chase the record set by Jose Mourinho’s team in 2004/05 as five straight victories would take them to 96 points.

"It's not beyond the team at all," said Ferguson. "If you are asking if Manchester United can win five games in a row, well how many times have we done that?

"There won’t be any slacking-off by the players"
Sir Alex Ferguson

"There won't be any slacking-off by the players. If we win the League, the team has to be considered in terms of other teams, but what may create more awareness of the side we have this year is how many points we get. We won it in 1997 with 75 points and have been second to Chelsea with 86 and City with 89 points last season.

"We have also won leagues with 91 points [in 1999-2000]. That has to be considered in terms of judgment against other teams."

United are a point behind where Chelsea were eight years ago and, even if Ferguson's team win their next two matches against Villa then away to Arsenal, the West London side have a chance to ensure their record is not broken when they travel to Old Trafford on 5 May. However, United won all the equivalent fixtures last season.

United's remaining fixtures

Date Opponents Result last season
22 April Aston Villa (H) W 4-0
28 April Arsenal (A) W 2-1
5 May Chelsea (H) W 3-1
12 May Swansea City (H) W 2-0
19 May West Brom (A) W 2-1

 

Ferguson has pointed to the dramatic loss of the title to Manchester City on goal difference at the end of last season as a motivating factor for his team this campaign and a greater mental strength among his players.

"There is resilience [about this team], the consistency has been good and like all the previous teams, they never give in," he said. "The way we lost the title helped us really and that it was City gave us an incentive. So you have to admire the focus we’ve shown. But I'll be no more proud than I was with the previous 12 if we win it."

Even if United set a record points total, the United manager also sounded a warning to his rivals that his team can still get better.

"There is a lot of improvement in the team," he said. "We will see it from [Shinji] Kagawa and the young players should improve too. We have a group of 23 which should improve and we expect them to improve."

For all the build-up to this evening's match plus live commentary, and stats, go to  our Matchday Live page.

8pm Manchester United v Aston Villa  |  #MUNAVL  |  Matchday Live >>

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Key Points

  • Sir Alex Ferguson eyes beating Chelsea's points record total of 95
  • Manchester United must win five remaining matches to reach 96 points
  • Ferguson says team has room to improve for next season