Sir Alex Ferguson fears television scheduling could cost United the title

The Scot is worried that a potentially "ridiculous" run of fixtures for his side may well hand Manchester City, who are now out of Europe, the edge in the Premier League race
Sir Alex Ferguson feels that crosstown rivals Manchester City will be given the edge in the Premier League title race having been knocked out of the Champions League, with Manchester United facing a very demanding fixture list.

The Red Devils are still in Europe and the Scot believes that the potential for being scheduled for televised kick-offs on Saturday lunchtimes after midweek away games on the continent could be a real detriment to his side's hopes of domestic glory.

"If you go back to the year we lost to Chelsea, we played away in Europe in midweek and then played a lunchtime game against Chelsea on the Saturday and they battered us. It was ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous," Sir Alex told reporters.

"The biggest disadvantage will be television because the demand for United will never weaken and, if they get us playing lunchtime on a Saturday after European games, it's ridiculous. We tried to stop that but they control it, absolutely control it."

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Sky Sports and the Premier League declined to comment on the issue but do often consider factors such as policing for high-profile fixtures and whether or not a team has a European game scheduled for the following Tuesday, which would rule out their preferred Sunday afternoon slot for airing matches.

A busy schedule potentially lies ahead for United, with Sir Alex's side immediately facing Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea all after Champions League games, provided that they make it past the first knockout phase, while a possible FA Cup semi-final could further complicate matters.