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Transfer Rater: Mertens to Man United

By ESPN Staff

Neville expecting same top four to challenge

Gary Neville is confident it will be the same old faces scrapping it out for the Premier League title next spring.

Liverpool top the table coming out of the international break, both Manchester United and Chelsea have lost games already, while Everton, Manchester City, Blackburn and Newcastle have all made excellent starts in a league where only three points separate the top 12 teams.

Neville's manager Sir Alex Ferguson is among those who feel it will not take 90 points to win the championship this term due to the improvement most of United's mid-table rivals have been made.

But, while the Red Devils captain - who is nearing full fitness after a series of injuries that have ruled him out since March - is not willing to set a title-winning target for his team-mates, he does not expect an unfamiliar name to be at the top in May either.

'It will all settle down in the next couple of months and I am sure it is going to be the same four battling for the championship again,' he told MUTV.

'We have only had four or five games so far and it is too early to start making assessments.

'Over the next couple of months, once the big teams start to play each other, it will start to pan out where we will all go.

'We just need to make sure we are in amongst it because we proved last season if we get up there we are difficult to knock off the top.'

Having collected just two points from their opening three matches, United have turned their campaign around with successive home wins over Tottenham and Sunderland.

However briefly, Ferguson's men would top the table if they repeat last season's win over Everton when they visit Goodison Park tomorrow.

And, while it is inevitable United will not still be at the summit by the end of this weekend, Neville is convinced they are near enough to strike.

'The big thing in previous seasons was that we were too far behind,' he said.

'We need to make sure that we don't fall more than a couple of points behind the leaders.

'At this stage of the season it's in our hands. In two or three months we can get closer to them and that's what we need to do.'

Although Wayne Rooney appears unlikely to play against his old club, despite his speedy recovery from a broken foot, Cristiano Ronaldo will be available for the trip to Merseyside after completing his three-match suspension.