Sir Alex Ferguson proved to be spot on when he told his players Manchester United would one day rule English football again.

After three years without a league title, the summer of 2006 looked to be very bleak, with some pundits believing it would be Ferguson's last at Old Trafford unless he somehow found a way to get the better of Chelsea and Arsenal.

Defender Rio Ferdinand recalled: "Four seasons ago everyone was saying we were finished and that we were a spent force. I remember people booing Ryan Giggs. That is how mad it was."

He added: "But the manager calmed us down, told us to take our time and trust him.

"He assured us it was a transitional period. The results since have proved that. We have not won anything yet but we are in a great position to do so."

Sunday's Manchester derby success seemed to remove the one remaining element of doubt over another United title.

Ferguson's men now require only four points from a three-game run-in that starts at Wigan, where they will face a Latics side they have beaten on all eight occasions the teams have previously met.

It should set up a trophy-clinching encounter with Arsenal on Saturday that would deny Liverpool the chance to extend the battle into the final weekend, when Hull will probably hope United's first competitive visit to the KC Stadium - four days before the Champions League final - is largely meaningless given their desperate form and acute need for points.

Not that Ferdinand - who is hoping to be fit after picking up a calf strain in training on Saturday - is taking anything for granted.

"You cannot afford to daydream," he said. "We don't start counting our chickens too early. We have been drilled to take the whole situation game by game. That is how we have become successful."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Ryan Giggs
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