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Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge

50-50 Challenge
By ESPN Staff

Transfer policy same under Glazers - Ferguson

MANCHESTER, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said on Friday the club's transfer policy remains unaltered under the ownership of the Glazer family.

The Times newspaper had suggested Ferguson was being given an annual transfer fund of £25 million ($49.13 million) with a similar figure set aside for a 'superstar' signing.

But Ferguson insisted United's approach to signing players had not changed since the U.S.-based Glazers took control at Old Trafford in 2005 with every case judged on its merits.

'There's no figure from the Glazer family,' Ferguson told reporters. 'There's no figure put at any time. They are operating the same way that United have always operated.'

The Times claimed to have seen the transfer fund figure in documents outlining the business plans of the Glazer family.

However, Ferguson, who has hinted at a possible move into the transfer market during the January window, added:

'If we are after a player we then present the case, as I would do with (past chairman) Martin Edwards or I would do with the plc board and I do now with (chief executive) David Gill and the Glazers. It's exactly the same as it's always been.'

United launch their Christmas holiday fixture programme at mid-table Aston Villa on Saturday looking to bounce back from last Sunday's defeat at West Ham United.

That result saw their lead over Chelsea cut to two points but Ferguson is happy with his side's position and believes they have the attributes to outlast the champions in the title race.

'We have to accept in a championship race there is going to be a disappointment along the way,' he said. 'That's the making of your team, to recover from these things. We have done it many times, so tomorrow is a nice challenge for us.'

Ferguson added: 'I think the league this season will be the long haul and that's a good thing, because we have got youth in our side, we have got strength in our side and historically we do okay in the second half of seasons.

'So getting to this part of the season in the position we are, I think we should be pleased with that.

'You could be over-critical and say we threw three points away against West Ham but that doesn't get you anywhere. What's done is done.

'What we have to do is say: `What's going to be our target now?'. Winning our next game is an obvious target but the most important thing is to win the league and we are capable of doing that.'

Patrice Evra may come back into consideration for United following a calf injury sustained earlier this month.