Manchester United's shocking 4 – 4 draw with Everton yesterday may have cost them the Premiership trophy, according to manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Despite United being 4 – 2 in the lead at Old Trafford Everton took the red devils by surprise after scoring two goals in the final eight minutes, managing to garner themselves a point out of the game whilst putting United ever closer to bitter rivals Manchester City who, after defeating Wolverhampton 0 – 2, now trail the Premiership leaders by just three points.
Speaking after the match Ferguson lambasted his squad's disastrous defensive display and threatened that their poor form may have cost them the title, saying: “It was terrible defending – we’ve thrown it away, it’s as simple as that.”
If City defeat United in their upcoming derby at the Etihad stadium then they will only need to defeat QPR and Newcastle in order to lift the trophy, as they currently lead United by six goals in terms of goal difference.
Ferguson accepted that the fate of the Premiership crown rests on the derby, saying: “It is definitely the most important derby in my time at United. We need to get a result at the Etihad, there is no question about that, we need to perform.
“But there is no reason why we can’t do that. There has been an expectancy from City that it could be their decider, but it’s our decider too.The game on Monday would always be a derby of highest proportions and it won’t be any different now.”
When City and United faced off in October of last year City won 6 – 1, a huge knock to the confidence of Ferguson & co. Many believed that this result would be the final nail in the coffin of United's 2012 title hopes, but a string of wins and an impressive sheet of goals from Wayne Rooney led to them making their way to the top of the table. However, following a loss to major underdogs Wigan and now throwing away a victory against Everton, the steep eight point lead they once held against their fellow Mancunians has been drastically shortened.
Manchester boss Roberto Mancini said of the title race between the two teams: “I think that United is in the top, they have three more points and after the derby they have two easy games against Swansea and Sunderland,” Mancini said. “Only one team can win this title. It is not in our hands, we have three points less.
"After the derby, we play two difficult games against Newcastle, who fight for the Champions League, and QPR, who fight against relegation.
He also took a jab at United's poorer goal difference, saying: “If United win 10-0 against Swansea City and 2-0 against Sunderland and we win 1-0, 1-0, and 1-0, they will win the title.”