Sir Alex Ferguson: United youngsters will succeed in place of Cristiano Ronaldo
United begin a new era without the Portuguese forward when they launch their defence of the Premier League title against Birmingham on Sunday. Having added just three signings to his squad in the summer – Michael Owen, Antonio Valencia and Gabriel Obertan – many have questioned United's ability to claim a historic fourth successive title this term. But Ferguson insists that United's youngsters are good enough to keep the club on course for silverware this season and beyond. Ferguson said: "We have a lot of young players who want to do well and that's the area that most encourages me. "Our critics are misreading the situation in terms of the young players improving. They are improving and there are some good signs there. "We have a very good, strong squad and we are where we want to be. "Numbers wise, we have a lot of young players and that is encouraging, with the likes of Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck who have both played for their U-21's this week. "They are developing very well. We also have the Da Silva twins and Darron Gibson, who is going to be a really top player. He has come on fantastically well. "We also have Nani and Anderson, at 21 and 22, so I am quite happy with what we've got." Having scored 68 goals in his last two seasons at United, Ferguson admits that his team will miss the presence of Ronaldo. But he insists that he is excited by the challenge of proving that there can be life after the Real Madrid star. Ferguson said: "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 in seeing that progress because it will be different without Cristiano."
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