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Fergie warns Man United to beware strugglers
Published : 08 Apr 2012 04:47:04
Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his Manchester United players to be wary of teams battling to avoid relegation as they prepare to face struggling QPR at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Ferguson's side will go eight points clear at the top of the Premier League if they beat QPR just before second-placed Manchester City kick off at Arsenal.
City boss Roberto Mancini claims that if United do win and his side lose in north London then the title will be staying at Old Trafford for another year.
However, Ferguson refused to be drawn on Mancini's comments, instead focusing on United's next three games against a trio of relegation-threated teams in QPR, Wigan and Aston Villa.
After taking 80 minutes on Monday to break down Blackburn, who are also fighting to stay up, Ferguson knows all too well the dangers that are presented by clubs fighting for their survival at the other end of the table.
"Those sides are all waking up I suppose. No-one would have bet on QPR beating Liverpool and Arsenal two weeks in a row and Wigan have hit a bit of form too," he said.
"The statistics for teams at the bottom picking up points are not good. What we had last weekend was exceptional.
"All of a sudden Blackburn are right back into it and Villa are not out of it either."
Ferguson was keen to point out that the last 15 minutes of their recent win over Fulham at Old Trafford saw United almost squander three points when Michael Carrick was not punished for bringing down Danny Murphy in the area.
The United boss wants his players to learn from that narrow escape and he said: "I wouldn't anticipate complacency but if your concentration isn't 100 per cent then you get moments in games like we experienced against Fulham.
"Four or five players gave the ball away in the space of five minutes and it created a bit of nervousness on the terraces.
"I made the point afterwards that it was good for us because it was an indication of how the games are going to be."
Ferguson's squad will be bolstered as Portgual winger Nani is back from injury and available for selection after a full week of training, but Anderson and Michael Owen are still not ready despite recent improvements.
Former Liverpool forward Djibril Cisse misses out for QPR as his suspension continues, but DJ Campbell and Heidar Helguson are set to return after hamstring and groin problems.
QPR boss Hughes, a former United striker, has backed Ferguson's men to claim their 20th English league title, but he is hoping his side can cause a temporary blip as they look to edge away from the bottom three.
"I think at this stage of the season there is a little bit of a sense of inevitability," Hughes said.
"United have been in this situation so many times before, City haven't and I think that can be key in this situation.
"You sense that United are looking at fixtures, taking each game on its merits and just ticking off games they have to play from now until the end of the season.
"Obviously we're hopeful that we're going to have a performance that will upset that plan in terms of what United expect from the game.
"That is certainly our intention and we're not just going there to lie down and lose the game.
"Our intention is to get something out of the game because of the situation we find ourselves in."