Posted on Apr 11
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes his team's home form will be key in deciding whether they can secure a 20th title.
United lost ground in the title race on Wednesday with a 1-0 defeat at Wigan and Manchester City's 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion seeing their lead cut to five points.
The champions' lead could be reduced to two points when City travel to Norwich on Saturday, 24 hours before United entertain Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
United also host Everton and Swansea before the end of the season and must travel to City in the third last game of the season.
After seeing his team's eight-match winning run ended at the DW Stadium Ferguson thinks those home dates will be key in closing out the title.
"It's been a great run and put us in a position where we can win the league," Ferguson said.
"We were well behind City a couple of months ago, they were 5/1 on and ahead on goal difference and points, so we have to take some credit for getting back in the race.
"It's important to win our home games now. We'll improve from this performance, I'm sure of that.
"We wish our lead was better but considering where we were a couple of months ago we have to accept that somewhere along the line you will drop points. I said that weeks ago.
"We pointed it out to the players that Wigan were under-rated and in a false position.
"They were outstanding at Chelsea and dominated at Liverpool so we were under no illusions what a difficult game it was going to be but we just didn't cope with it."
Ferguson will also have a concern over Phil Jones, who limped through the closing stages of the game at Wigan, with United already having made their three substitutions.
Shaun Maloney scored the only goal at the DW Stadium, curling in from the edge of the area just after half-time to give Wigan their first-ever points against United at the 14th attempt.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez dismissed speculation that he will leave the club as a free agent this summer.
It had been claimed that Martinez had not signed an agreed contract extension, following his rejection of Aston Villa, last summer and that his agreement with the Latics would expire this summer.
Martinez insists there is no foundation in the rumour and claims he still has two years left on his contract but admits that the rumours had been damaging.
"I heard that and I was very surprised because you wonder where that rumour is coming from," he said.
"At this stage of the season it's a real fight in the bottom five and feel that stories can distract or upset clubs internally.
"There's nothing true about it, I agreed a new deal in the summer and that was our conversation with the chairman and nothing has changed since then.
"It sounds to me a little bit loose as a rumour and the most important thing at this stage is the next five games, that we'll all give our lives to keep Wigan in the Premier League.
"The rumour is un-founded, I agreed my deal in the summer. It's for another two years."