With the prospect of a 20th league title looming, Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed Roberto Mancini’s claims that they can spend ‘big’ in the summer and match Manchester United again.
And Ferguson expects United to be even stronger next year as the younger players in the squad will just keep on improving.
“I’d expect us, without doubt, to have a real good challenge next year too,” Ferguson said.
“We’ve got a lot of youth in the team, there’s no doubt about that – we’re not going away; the record over the past 20 years tells you we’re not going away. Plus the fact that we’ll have players who are maturing nicely.
“Rafa [Rafael] has proved how much he’s developed this season, David de Gea has progressed right through the season with absolute superb performances and he’ll get better next year.
“[Shinji] Kagawa will be a far better player, I’m certain about that, and [Phil] Jones can do anything he wants to do.”
A win tonight against City will send United 18 points clear at the top with only 21 points left to play for which will all but engrave their name on the Premier League trophy.
It has been a strange season from United who have not played their best football all year yet have dominated the Premier League with consummate ease, notching a record 25 wins out of the first 30 games.
But it is the youth that Ferguson is most excited about as has always been the case. De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Evans, Rafael, Cleverley and Welbeck have all continued to progress and the future spine of United already looks in place at the club.
He continued: “There are a lot of pluses for us, and though we have to deal with the fact that one or two are getting older, I think we’re not so bad in terms of protecting most positions.
“There are maybe 14 players aged 23 or under who could play together here for another seven or eight years.
“Whether we can go on another run of three titles in a row, who’s to say? The material’s there, but it’s a hard league. If Jose [Mourinho] goes back to Chelsea, as they’re talking about, you’d expect a big challenge from there.
“City have enough money to go and buy another £200 million worth of players. They’re not going to go away, are they, with the money they’ve got?
“I think Arsenal will improve – there’s some indication that they are building a better squad than people think, and Tottenham have been progressing for a couple of years now.
“So it’s a hard league to win, no doubt about that. But at this moment we just need to concentrate on winning the League this year.”
Along with City’s expected revival, United are also expected to bring some fresh faces into the team this summer.
Kevin Strootman is a name that has been thrown around a lot recently, especially after being given a sign of approval from ex-United star Edwin van de Sar along with players such as Benfica’s Ezequiel Garay, Victor Wanyama and Porto trio James Rodriguez, Eliaquim Mangala & Alex Sandro.