Fergie: We'll win off our own bat
SIR Alex Ferguson has told his United players there will be no excuses if they fail to clinch a record fourth successive Premier League crown. Fergie read the riot act to his stars after the shock FA Cup third round defeat to Leeds - but remains convinced they can overhaul Chelsea at the top of the table. Privately, the United boss always targeted January as the month to begin their title charge, with Chelsea missing several stars at the African Cup of Nations. But he insists even when key players, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou return from the tournament, his side still have enough to pip Carlo Ancelotti's men to the post. "We hope the African Nations Cup has an impact that benefits us, but I'm not sure it'll be as big as people are saying," said Ferguson. "We shouldn't be relying on other teams. We just need to rely on ourselves. "We've certainly got the players, the squad structure and the experience to win it off our own bat." United travel to Birmingham on Saturday where they will look to quickly put defeat to Leeds behind them. And Ryan Giggs says the FA Cup exit needs to be put in perspective. "It has always been the same here, one defeat and it is a disaster," said the veteran. League position "But we don't get carried away with that, just the same as we wouldn't get carried away if we had won 10 on the bounce. "It is up to us to work hard and get back to winning ways. "We are still in a strong position in the league and we are still in the Champions League. "The turn of the year is when we are notoriously at our best,'' added Giggs, pictured. "We have a great team at the moment and I still believe there is more for me to win." United have rearranged their Premier League encounter with Hull at Old Trafford for Saturday, January 23 (3pm). The match had been scheduled for the following Tuesday but had to be postponed as part of the revised schedule that was required after this week's Carling Cup semi-final first-leg with Manchester City was called off. With both United and Hull out of the FA Cup, it was an obvious date to play the fixture, ensuring Sir Alex Ferguson's men do not have matches to sort out once their Champions League campaign begins again in the middle of next month. United's away clash with Everton on February 20 has a new kick-off time of 12.45pm. Will United bounce back against Birmingham? Have your say.
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