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Ferguson in agony until United clinches EPL title
by Paul Kennedy, May 7th, 2007 10AM

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TAGS:  england

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On Championship Sunday, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson spent the day watching his grandson play soccer and then watched horse racing on television when he returned home.

"When that was finished and I had nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs," the 65-year-old Scotsman said, "I watched the last 15 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, and I was in agony."

Chelsea's 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Sunday clinched United's first league title since 2003. The result came a day after United's 1-0 win at Manchester City on Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty kick extended its lead over second-place Chelsea to eight points. Chelsea's tie against Arsenal left it seven points behind United with two games left and made Wednesday's makeup game against United at Stamford Bridge irrelevant.

For United, the win made up for the disappointment of losing to AC Milan, 3-0, last Wednesday and being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League.

"Some years ago, I always used to have an obsession about winning in Europe," Ferguson told Sky Sports. "I think it's been overtaken by the demands of the Premier League because I think it's the highest league in Europe now. To win it is a big, big achievement. So I suppose it was a priority, but I wish we'd at least got to the [Champions League] final in Athens, I must say."

Ferguson says he has no plans to retire.

"It's easy to retire," he said. "I did it years ago and regretted it within days. Now I feel invigorated by the young players at the club and players like Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes turning out every week for me. It gives me the right vibes. I don't know how long I'll last now but I'm enjoying it. For Cristiano and [Wayne] Rooney, who haven't won a championship medal before, it's fantastic for them, and you hope it brings things on for them."

Just days ago, Chelsea still had dreams of a quartet of titles, but it is now out of the running for the Champions League and EPL titles, leaving only the League Cup, which it won in February, and the FA Cup, in which it meets United May 19 at the new Wembley Stadium.

For once, fiery Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho sounded conciliatory, promising that his players would form a guard of honor for United's players as they field the pitch in Wednesday's makeup game to recreate the gesture that the Blues were shown at Old Trafford two years ago.

"I always said that one day I would lose a championship," Mourinho said. "I told my people that the day I don't win it, I don't want to blame myself, I don't want to blame the players or the people that work with me. Everybody makes mistakes. Even when you win you make mistakes. There is not the perfect season. I will analyze myself and try to improve."



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