Bruce: Never question Sir Alex
Sir Alex Ferguson is a manager "you must never question", according to former skipper Steve Bruce, who also believes the Manchester United boss is the only manager able to compensate for the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.
As Bruce takes his Sunderland side to Old Trafford, he recalled how Sir Alex went from strength to strength despite the loss of world class and influential players including from Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Roy Keane, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis.
Bruce told ESPN Soccernet in an exclusive interview that he believes Manchester United will win their fourth successive championship title – if they can overcome the strength of Chelsea.
"If you ask me to tip the champions for this season, I believe you have to look at Manchester United - it's between United and Chelsea," Bruce said. "Chelsea have started off well, and they are strong.
"United have lost Ronaldo, they have lost Tevez, and that is something difficult to get over. But if there is any manager, at any club, who could recover from the loss of such great players and possibly even emerge bigger and stronger, then it is Sir Alex, at Manchester United.
"Sir Alex sold Beckham, Cantona retired, and in the mid-90s he lost important players when Kanchelskis, Hughes and Ince all went in one go. But he brought in the youngsters and went on to win the double in the very next season....you never question him. You must never question Sir Alex, he always comes up with the right answers.
"This time it won't be easy, as Ronaldo is arguably the best player in the world right now and they are going to miss his goals tremendously. Yet, you would think that but they have won eight games on the spin and they are back at the top of the league.
"In my opinion, if they can beat Chelsea they will win the title. Chelsea are the serious threat. But United have so much experience of winning titles, they have won it three times running now, and they know how to handle the games that count."
Bruce would love to win at Old Trafford with his Sunderland side on Saturday, though a draw would be seen a major triumph.
But it's not a great idea to put money on a stalemate, there have been fewer draws, by a very long way, in the Premier league than anywhere else in Europe - just four in 66 games.