London: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated his 71st birthday this week by revealing he has no plans to retire in the immediate future.
Ferguson took his table-topping team to Wigan on Tuesday the day after his birthday and was asked in an interview with Abu Dhabi Sports who he thought would replace him when he eventually decides to stand down.
The United boss said: “There is no-one on the agenda, but somebody will have to replace me. I’m hoping to stay on for a bit of time, anyway.
“It’s very difficult. Over the years, names have been bandied about but football is such a precarious industry.
“You could be talking about one of the potentially exciting young managers in the game, but is he going to be here in two or three years’ time? The sack race is horrendous.
“Sometimes a manager can only survive four games if he doesn’t win a match. It’s impossible to say who is going to be there.”
Ferguson was asked specifically in the interview about the credentials of Everton manager David Moyes, Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.
He added: “They are all qualified people. Top managers will always been in demand. Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, David Moyes. There are a lot of successful managers out there. But I don’t know what their plans will be in two or three years’ time.
“In terms of football management, I have achieved everything I always wished for. It’s been a great journey for me.
“But being manager of Manchester United, you have to kick on. You can’t look back.
“The drive is always on to do better, although it’s not easy in the Barclays Premier League. It’s a difficult league. And European football is getting stronger and stronger.”
Ferguson took the opportunity to pay tribute to striker Robin van Persie, signed from Arsenal last summer.
“He certainly is magnificent,” the manager said. “He brings maturity, he is a proven goalscorer, a proven international and is at a good age.
“He helps our young strikers, Chicharito and Danny Welbeck. He’s been outstanding since he came.”
Ferguson also welcomed the return of defender Nemanja Vidic, plagued by injury for more than a year. “He has been out for a year and three months, although he has played a few games. He’s our captain, a real warrior and our leader,” he said.