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Fergie: Beat Chelsea and title is ours

Sir Alex Ferguson has no doubts Manchester United will go on to claim a record 19th Premier League title if they beat Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.

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The game sees Chelsea, three points behind United, able to take over at the top of the league on goal difference before games against Newcastle and Everton if they win. But if United triumph, they would be six clear and would only require a point from their final two games against Blackburn and Blackpool to achieve their objective.

But Ferguson regards picking up an additional point as a minor inconvenience compared to beating a side that has claimed 25 points from their last 27, which is why he made eight changes to his starting line-up for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final decider with Schalke.

''Everyone is aware of the magnitude of Sunday's game,'' said Ferguson. ''If we win, we should win the league. It is a game we are looking forward to. Last Sunday's result (at Arsenal) has certainly brought us an awareness of how important this week's game is.

''It is one of the reasons why I picked the team I did on Wednesday. I wanted to give us a real chance. We will have a fresh team on Sunday and that makes a difference at this time of the season. It should be a fantastic game.''

Ferguson has confirmed Wayne Rooney will be fit to play after resting a minor hamstring complaint in midweek. However, midfielder Darren Fletcher is not going to start, even though he returned from a two-month absence with a virus by making a 20-minute substitute appearance in midweek.

Instead, Ferguson is looking towards the Champions League final against Barcelona on May 28 as Fletcher's long-term goal.

''Wednesday was a step forward but that 20 minutes was just to give him a boost really because the boy has a bit to do yet,'' said Ferguson. ''He has almost has three weeks to the final and that is his target.

''If he does reach it, it would be a great boost to us. As we all know he is a big game player. He won't start on Sunday but his training will be stepped up in terms of giving him the sharpness he needs.

''We have Blackburn and Blackpool in the Premier League and also Gary Neville's testimonial so there is some game time there that could help him to reach his target.''


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