Sir Alex Ferguson: Title is priority No.1 for Manchester United

The Red Devils saw a record 20th league crown slip through their fingers in the dying seconds of last season, and the manager admits "it would be special" to win it back in 2012-13
Sir Alex Ferguson has stated that Manchester United's top priority for the coming season is to win back the Premier League title after seeing it slip through their fingers in the dying seconds of the 2011-12 campaign to rivals Manchester City.

United were forced to wait to find out if they had won the title after defeating Sunderland 1-0 on the last day of the season, learning of Sergio Aguero's last-minute winner that sent the title to the blue half of Manchester on-pitch.

And on their pre-season tour, which begins in South Africa, Ferguson has stated that it is of the utmost importance for them to win the crown again.

"It would be special," he told the club's official website when asked what winning the title would mean. "If you look back over different periods you see we recover.

"When Arsenal won the title from us in 1998 we went and won the treble the next year. We accepted that challenge and did something about it. Then Chelsea came along and got off to a flyer in the league for the first two years.

"We changed our pre-season a little to make sure we got off to quick starts. That allowed us to get the title back.

"That's happened three times in the last 14 or 15 years. Recovery is so important and the same applies this season. There's not any difference. It will be special, but no more special than in previous years.

"We want to recover the title. That's our priority No.1 - to win the title back."

Ferguson also revealed that Shinji Kagawa will start in Wednesday's friendly against South African side Amazulu, stating that the main aim of the tour would be to get experienced players fit.

"The priority is to get the experienced players fit, but young players will play in each game," he added. "It's likely that Kagawa will start with Chicharito.

"Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes will play. So too Anders Lindegaard, Jesse Lingard and [Robbie] Brady at left-back. Antonio Valencia will play.

"Young Robbie Brady will be at left-back. He's actually an outside-left but we believe there's the possibility he'll develop into a left-back. He was on loan last year at Hull City and did very well. He'll certainly figure at left-back.

"I don't know how many substitutes will be allowed - we need to establish that - but I'm sure we can be flexible. It's important the young players get a chance to play on such a big occasion.

The 70-year-old admitted that he would be paying particular attention to Brady, who could be involved with the first team this season after Fabio was sent out on loan to QPR.
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"Left-back is an area which we're paying attention to," Ferguson explained. "Patrice [Evra], in the last five years, has played an average of 45-50 games. It's phenomenal. I don't know if anybody else has achieved that. He's still a fit lad and has the same drive and ambition. He's a fighter.

"Fabio went to QPR, which was so important for the boy because he has enormous ability, but he needs to play. Because Evra, touch wood, is never injured, the opportunities haven't been there for the boy.

"He played a few games last season but it's not enough for a young boy of 21 years. He needed to continue with his progress. With Fabio at QPR for a year, we're just a little short in that department.

"That's why we're trying Robbie Brady at left-back. We also have Tyler Blackett here - he's a big, strong boy, tall and quick going forward. But he's only just turned 18. He has time on his side but he's here for the experience and may yet surprise us."