MANCHESTER, January 14 – MANCHESTER, January 14, 2011 (AFP) – Sir Alex Ferguson remains unconvinced about Tottenham Hotspur’s staying power in the race for the Premier League title once the Champions League restarts next month.For the first time in his managerial career at Old Trafford, Ferguson will take a side to White Hart Lane on Sunday to face a home side who are genuine title contenders.
Spurs are in fourth spot, just eight points behind Ferguson’s side but Spurs have never had to combine a Premier League challenge with a simultaneous assault on the Champions League and that could prompt their undoing.
"The big test for Tottenham will be whether they can combine all the different fixtures they have when the Champions League starts up again in February," Ferguson said.
"If they’re still figuring in the Champions League in March, then combining that with the Premier League and FA Cup will be the big test for this Tottenham team.
"I think this is the first time, certainly in my time at United, where we have gone to White Hart Lane with Spurs challenging for the championship.
"That is measure of their change in fortune under Harry. He has done a fantastic job there and Spurs have some really exciting players there now.
"Obviously the development of Spurs is an interesting one because I can’t remember ever taking United to the Lane with Tottenham challenging for the league. I don’t think I have ever done that."
United are expected to have Wayne Rooney, captain Nemanja Vidic and Edwin van der Sar in contention after the trio all missed last weekend’s FA Cup win over Liverpool.
One man who did feature in that encounter was evergreen winger Ryan Giggs who is expected to make his 600th league appearance for United in the London encounter.
That is a truly astonishing feat for any footballer, let alone a winger who has to rely on pace and stamina to provide a threat yet even at 37 Giggs continues to prove he is good enough for the Premier League and fit enough to still compete at the highest level.
"He is just an incredible human being and he defies the logic of being a forward playing the way he did last Sunday," Ferguson said.
"We know how to manage him now and he doesn’t play every week but when he does he makes a contribution that lifts the team.
"I thought he was outstanding last week and he has that capability and fitness. He ran for 90 minutes up and down the pitch and he has been doing that for two decades. There is no other player who has done that or who is ever likely to do that. He is an amazing man."
Ferguson also re-iterated his own belief that United cannot and will not go the entire season undefeated.
After 20 games this season, United are yet to taste defeat and sit at the top of the table on 44 points.
However, they have never really moved into top gear and have looked sorely below par at times but have managed not to lose.
That has prompted Spurs manager Harry Redknapp to question whether United can emulate the Arsenal "Invincibles" side of 2004 who went all the way through the season without losing.
And Ferguson agreed with Redknapp that it will be difficult for United to copy Arsene Wenger’s team.
He said: "I don’t think there is anything exceptional in that comment, I think Harry is just echoing what I’ve been saying all along. There will be a blip and how you handle that blip that is important.
"As long as it is not on Sunday if you could please tell Harry that."