SPORT

Sir Alex Ferguson Surprised At Manchester City's Weak Title Defence

26/03/2013 15:57 GMT | Updated 26/03/2013 16:12 GMT

Sir Alex Ferguson says he is surprised at Manchester City's weak defence of their Premier League title, as Manchester United enjoy a 15-point lead over their rivals.

United need 13 points from nine games to clinch their 20th championship and Ferguson's 13th, with City due to visit Old Trafford on 8 April.

Asked about United's bid to regain the league, Ferguson admitted he thought the competition would be tougher.

"Manchester City have come on the scene in the last couple of years and you have Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham vying for the top four, so you expect it to be tight," Ferguson told Sirius radio station.

"And after last season what we said was 'let's make sure we don't lose it on the goal difference', and of course our goal difference has improved dramatically on last year. But I never thought for a minute we'd be 15 points clear at this stage of the season."

sir alex ferguson roberto mancini

"I didn't expect to be this far clear."

United boast a +38 goal difference compared to City's +25 after the Reds saw off Reading 1-0, hours after City's title bid effectively collapsed with a 2-0 defeat at bogey team Everton 10 days ago.

Despite elimination from the Champions League, United could still go on to clinch their third domestic double under Ferguson, with Chelsea on the agenda in the Easter Monday FA Cup quarter-final replay.

The 12.30pm kick-off comes less than 48 hours after United play at Sunderland in the Premier League, and Ferguson, who is enjoying his customary international mini-break in New York, hinted at drastic changes for the game at Stamford Bridge.

"When I go on the plane tonight I'll be working out how many minutes each player has played [for their national teams] and I'll start to think about what my team will be for Saturday.

"It's a big ask for our squad and we need to make sure we have the right teams."

In two additional questions, Ferguson was asked what red wine he would compare Cristiano Ronaldo to and which player he wished he had coached but didn't.

Ronaldo was likened to a 61 Pétrus, which costs $8,000, while the Scot unsurprisingly named Paul Gascoigne again as the player who got away he most regretted.