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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 26, 2008

Man Utd and Chelsea set to dominate - Redknapp

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp insists the Premier League title race is already a two-horse affair once again - and believes that could apply to the Champions League as well.

Redknapp cannot see beyond the 'big two' of Manchester United and Chelsea - last season's winners and runners-up respectively.

Manchester United pulled off a 1-0 victory at Fratton Park last night to heap the agony on luckless Pompey following their 4-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge nine days ago.

The difference between United, the European champions, and last season's unlikely FA Cup winners was just a scruffy 33rd-minute goal which arrived when Darren Fletcher's half-hit shot was helped into the net by French defender Sylvain Distin's frantic swipe on the line.

But United were without such luminaries as Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves - all injured - and Redknapp admitted: 'They are still so strong that I can see them and Chelsea being the two slugging it out again for the title.

'They will probably meet again in a repeat of the Champions League final too, I shouldn't wonder.

'Certainly, I think Arsenal and Liverpool have it all on to finish above them.

'Chelsea were very strong last week and United will be even stronger than they are now if they sign Dimitar Berbatov (from Tottenham), as I think they will, in the next few days.'

United's second win in six visits to Fratton Park left Pompey - who knocked them out of the FA Cup last March - with an unwanted club record of six Premier League defeats on the trot.

Redknapp's side lost their last four in the league last season when clearly distracted by thoughts of the Wembley final clash with Cardiff.

But Redknapp insisted: 'We've been a good team over the past two seasons and I'm confident we'll be a decent team again.

'I went in at half-time feeling quite pleased with us but we ran out of steam in the second half and people like (Carlos) Tevez and (Wayne) Rooney just popped the ball about when the heat went out of the game.

'We are a new team with a few players just getting over injuries, and once we play a bit more and get to understand each other we will be okay.'

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson added very little - he did not attend the post-match media briefing and did not even send a representative.

But he told Sky Sports immediately after the match: 'It was a bonus win. We only drew here last season and we lost the season before that. It is never an easy place to come but I thought we played good football.'

Fletcher, who will claim the winning goal to add to his strike in the 1-1 Old Trafford draw with Newcastle last week, said: 'We did well with what we've got.

'We had to play a pretty tight midfield unit without much width but it is good we won't slip too far behind what with having no league game next weekend.

'We play for the European Super Cup on Friday (against Zenit st Petersburg). Then it's Liverpool and Chelsea back-to-back.'

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