Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United's historic 19th title means they will start the new season as the favourites to triumph in the Barclays Premier League once more.
With Chelsea now under the stewardship of the attack-minded Andre Villas-Boas, Manchester City looking to improve on third place last term, Arsenal determined to end their trophy drought, and Liverpool showing intent in the transfer market, next season has all the makings of a classic.
But Ferdinand insists United are still the frontrunners to retain their crown, and claims the Red Devils will not have been weakened by the loss of experienced trio Edwin Van der Sar, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.
"We are the champions – so you put yourselves as favourites for the coming season," said the 32-year-old defender.
“But you still have to work hard. Whether we are favourites or not we still have to go out there and do a job and try to win the league. And that’s the case every year.
“The manager has brought in young, hungry players who have not won anything. I came in like that and I know what I was like – I was hungry to win and the desire was strong to win.
"Hopefully these guys will be the same and I’m sure they will."
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