Charlton hails long-term plan

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Sir Bobby Charlton is confident a template is in place which will ensure Manchester United continue to challenge for major honours despite their disappointing defeat to Barcelona.

Charlton was at the Stadio Olimpico to watch his beloved Red Devils be taught a lesson by Pep Guardiola's treble winners. But with Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm and ready for the battle once more, despite his 67 years, Charlton has no fears for the future.

He said: "We know it is going to be tough and hard even to win your own league, but the long-term plan gives you a consistency. The plans Alex Ferguson is putting in place now will be there long after he has gone, which I hope is not for a long time yet.

The England legend added: "Sir Alex is a unique person. He thrives on success. The more he gets the more he wants. The long-term plan has always been part of his philosophy."

Ferguson clearly faces some big decisions this summer, particularly concerning the futures of Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo, and who should come in if either of the pair eventually end up leaving Old Trafford.

Yet Charlton is confident the Scot will find the right answers and, crucially, will be given the freedom to implement them, having proved his worth many times over in equalling Liverpool's record of 18 English championships.

"There is a common denominator between what happened at Liverpool in the 1970s and 80s and what is happening at Manchester United now," claimed Charlton.

"The directors at Liverpool gave Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan pretty much everything they wanted to make sure they had a long-term plan.

"It has been exactly the same since Alex Ferguson came to Manchester United and there is no way that situation will ever change."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Carlos Tevez
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
Bobby Charlton
Charlton Athletic

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