Sir Alex expecting a dogfight – just to finish in the top four

SIR ALEX Ferguson yesterday warned his Manchester United side to prepare for a “dogfight” this season – just to finish in a Champions League place.

The wily United boss expects the likes of Tottenham, city rivals Manchester City, managerless Aston Villa, and Everton to contest a scramble for European spots this term, while he himself plots to land United a record 19th league title.

And the Scot believes Tottenham’s fourth-place finish last season is a sign of things to come as competition for a place in the top four intensifies by the year.

“Things definitely changed last season – it was a different league altogether compared to what we’d seen before,” said Ferguson, whose side were pipped to the title by Chelsea last season.

“The top four found it difficult and dropped points in games they wouldn’t have expected to. That’s an indication of the improvement made by other teams, and I think there’ll be a bit of a dogfight for the top four places this season.”

He added: “We all have to be aware of the threats from the likes of Villa, Everton, Tottenham and Manchester City – they’ll all be challenging to get into that top four.”