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Fergie plays down Jose successor talk

Sir Alex Ferguson has played down talk that Jose Mourinho will succeed him as manager of Manchester United by reiterating that he does not know when he will leave Old Trafford.

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The Real Madrid boss is the favourite to take over when Ferguson's 26-year reign eventually ends, but the 71-year-old Scot, who has said that his departure will be determined by his health, is in no rush to leave.

Mourinho, a friend of Ferguson's, is expected to leave Real in the summer after three seasons in the Bernabeu, but the United manager insists he does not know who will replace him.

"You get this question all the time and I can't answer it because I am still the manager here," he said. "I hope I am still the manager tomorrow. It is impossible to discuss who is going to replace me because there is no time scale to it."

Ferguson praised Real for the way they have rallied over the last week. While Mourinho's men are unlikely to retain their title in Spain, they have beaten Barcelona in their last two games, first in the Copa del Rey and then in La Liga.

They face United in the Champions League last 16 at Old Trafford on Tuesday with the tie finely poised after a 1-1 draw in the Bernabeu in the first leg.

And Ferguson added: "Real had two fantastic performances against Barcelona. I saw the first one and they were absolutely superb. They have found form at the right time whereas we have been consistent for quite some time. As a European night, I don't think it gets much bigger than this one. We are two clubs with great histories and it is set up to be a great game."


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