Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that his Manchester United face a huge challenge to retain their Barclays Premier League title in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo but claimed last night that history tells him it can be done.
United begin their attempts to win the title for an unprecedented fourth straight season with a home game against Birmingham
With Ronaldo now preparing for a season with Real Madrid in Spain following his £80m summer transfer, Ferguson knows he will have to approach things differently.But the United manager said: "It is always hard to replace good players. We've had to do it time and time again.
"But most of the players probably expected Ronaldo to leave at some point, so it's not such a great shock them that he has left.
"The problem, of course, is how we progress as a football team, in a different shape and different way to when Ronaldo was here.
"That really is something I am looking forward to and I'm interested inseeing that progress because it will be different without Cristiano.