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Ex-Red Devils centre-half believes his old club will keep their neighbours at bay thanks to the boss' know-how and hails Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand as the finishing line nears

EXCLUSIVE
By Rob Stewart

Former Manchester United defender Gordon McQueen is backing the Premier League champions to resist Manchester City’s title challenge because of Sir Alex Ferguson’s managerial nous.

McQueen believes that his fellow Scot has what it takes to make sure that the league trophy remains at Old Trafford as the 70-year-old has more experience than his 47-year-old City counterpart, Roberto Mancini.

“City’s manager is a novice compared to Sir Alex, in terms of the Premier League, at least, and that will prove crucial in the long run, so I think that Manchester United will end up winning the league again,” he told Goal.com.

AS IT STANDS ...


1. Man Utd
2. Man City
3. Arsenal
4. Newcastle
5. Tottenham
6. Chelsea
Played

34
34
35
34
34
34
Points

82
77
65
62
59
58
GD

+54
+58
+24
+11
+18
+18

“There has been a huge turnaround because Manchester United have been relentless. That just shows how fantastically well Sir Alex manages things at Old Trafford.

"He has amazing work ethic and a reservoir of knowledge and a desire to be successful that a lot of managers just half his age haven’t got.”

By his own admission, McQueen has been surprised by the way in which United have come up the rails to close in on their 20th domestic title this season following a start to the campaign in which City looked invincible.

“I have been shocked by the way the title race has gone because at Christmas time I thought, like everyone else outside Old Trafford, that Manchester City were going to run away with it because of the sensational start that they had to the season and because of the brilliant football that they were playing," the former Leeds and Scotland centre-half added.

“The way things have gone just shows what an incredible spirit Manchester United have got and that has helped them overtake City at the top of the league.

“They have kept going and going after that wobble at Christmas when they lost to Blackburn and Newcastle, whereas City seem to have one problem after another that they have not been able to deal with.”

McQueen argues that Ferguson has managed to find the right blend of young players, such as Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, and senior colleagues including Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand.

“The mixture of youth and experience at United has just been too much for Manchester City,” the former Middlesbrough coach continued, speaking ahead of United's hosting of Everton on Sunday while City go to bottom-of-the-table Wolves.

“Together with young players coming into the side like Phil Jones and Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have brought a wealth of experience to the team.

“But I think that Wayne Rooney has been fantastic this season and his discipline as well as his goal-scoring have been great. He has shown a real maturity this year as well. He is improving as a player and as a person.

“In my opinion, Rio Ferdinand is still the best central defender in England. There are Ledley King and John Terry and one or two others but for me Rio is still the No.1.

“As for England, not only should he be in the team but also if they are looking for a captain then I don’t see why they shouldn’t be looking towards Rio Ferdinand.

"He is a great player. Obviously he might not be as pacy as he used to be but he makes up for it in other departments.”

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