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By ESPN Staff

Ferguson: Man City can emulate Chelsea

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted there is no reason why Manchester City should not follow Chelsea's lead and become a major Barclays Premier League force.

New City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has already splashed out £40million on eight new players after being placed in charge by new owner Thaksin Shinawatra, with the promise of more to come ahead of the August 31 transfer deadline.

The response has been instant, with successive victories over West Ham and Derby putting City in confident mood ahead of tomorrow's Eastlands clash with local rivals United.

For almost Ferguson's entire 21-year reign as Old Trafford boss, United have dominated City.

But, while the Scot does not believe the Blues will be pushing for a top-four berth this term, he accepts Shinawatra's vast wealth could make them big players in the future.

'In the long term, as Chelsea have proved, if you have enough money and buy the right players, you can do it,' he said.

'Maybe this is just the start. Apparently this guy has so much money, so who knows what is ahead. He might end up bringing in some higher profile, big international stars.'

Despite investing heavily himself this summer, Ferguson finds his own options restricted.

Cristiano Ronaldo begins a three-match ban following his dismissal at Portsmouth, joining Gary Neville, Wayne Rooney, Louis Saha, Anderson and Owen Hargreaves on a long list of absentees.

Hargreaves' recovery from a tendonitis problem is proving frustratingly slow, although Ferguson is confident the £18million summer arrival from Bayern Munich will not need to have an injection.

With so many absentees, Ferguson will place his trust in Carlos Tevez, who performed creditably on his debut at Portsmouth, setting up Paul Scholes for United's opener.

Unfortunately for the Red Devils, they were unable to hold on and were eventually forced to settle for their second draw of the campaign, falling four points behind Chelsea already.

It is hardly the ideal start for United but Ferguson is struggling to find fault with his side's performances so far.

'I am looking at the form of the team and at the final whistle I am saying 'well done lads', yet we are dropping points,' he said.

'That is frustrating because the performance level has been very good.

'The important thing now is to be patient now and rely on the experience of the staff and the players coming right.'