Retirement was the furthest thing from Alex Ferguson's mind as the 67-year-old Manchester United manager celebrated an 11th Premier League title after a 0-0 home draw with Arsenal on Saturday. As the champagne flowed and fireworks exploded around Old Trafford the wily Scot was already plotting to take the club past the overall record of 18 English league crowns they now share with Liverpool. "It will be more special when we get in front of them," Ferguson told Sky Sports. "We want to progress with this team, we are capable of doing that, we are a young team and next year we will go for it again. "I'm not contemplating retiring, definitely not that's the thing....I'll carry on, I will stay as a manager and only my health will tell me when to quit. Let's pray." United's title challenge appeared to be crumbling two months ago when they were thrashed 4-1 at home by Liverpool and followed that with defeat at Fulham. But they scrambled a stoppage-time win against Aston Villa to embark on a seven-match winning streak which kept them above fast-finishing Liverpool. "It's an unbelievable feeling," striker Wayne Rooney said. "It was even better this season because Liverpool gave us a great race this year." Gary Neville, who lifted the trophy despite not playing on Saturday, said Liverpool remained a huge threat. "They pushed us very hard and next season we will have our work cut out," he said, reserving a special mention for young Italian striker Federico Macheda who came off the bench to score the dramatic late winner against Villa. "He won't even get a winners' medal but his goal may have won us the title," Neville said. CALF INJURY Captain Rio Ferdinand missed the game with a calf injury but led the celebrations. "There's an added satisfaction to this title win because we've equalled Liverpool's record," he said. "The fact that we've beaten them to do it means it's a really sweet feeling. Overtaking that record is definitely the next aim now." Ferguson took over at United in 1986 when they were in the doldrums and Liverpool were the dominant force in English football. Before his first title in the 1992-93 season they lagged 11 behind Liverpool and even Ferguson said he was surprised that they are now level. "When I arrived they were the greatest side in the land at the time," Ferguson said. "I never thought we would get 11 titles, not in a million years. "My aim was to win one, win the first one and see where it took us. Of course, we progressed so quickly after that." Ferguson admitted his side had wobbled badly when they lost to Liverpool, but pointed to a gritty 1-0 win at Stoke City on Boxing Day, just after his side had returned from winning the World Club Cup in Japan. "Winning that game late on after just getting back from Japan," Ferguson said when asked what was the defining moment of the season. "It was a big test and we came through it, it was a great result."
16 May 2009
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