Sir Alex Ferguson has received a triple boost as Manchester United's title assault reaches a critical stage after Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Wes Brown all pledged their long-term futures with the club.
The United boss confirmed that all three had agreed contracts ahead of United's game at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday where victory will send Ferguson's side five points clear at the Premier League summit with three games remaining.
“I'm not sure the length of the contracts, but David Gill (United's chief executive) phoned me this morning to tell me that they have agreed the contracts,” said Ferugson.
“It's obviously very good news for the club.”
Michael Essien's second goal in as mang games in Thursday's 1-0 win at Everton saw Avram Grant's side move to within two points of leaders United with three games to play.
But United will be in a “marvellous” position to wrap up the title if they respond by winning their game in hand at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, according to Ferguson.
The United manager described Wigan's last-gasp draw at Chelsea on Monday as an “unexpected bonus” as he eyes a 10th Premier League title.
“If we win tomorrow it will definitely put us in a marvellous position,” said Ferguson.
“We got a bonus on Monday. I can't ask for any more than that.
“It's in our hands because we're two points ahead of our nearest rivals with a game in hand.
“Hopefully we can make that count for ourselves tomorrow. We're taking a fantastic support to Blackburn, it'll be a great atmosphere and it's sold out.”
Grant's bizarre post-match press conference at Everton left those who witnessed it to wonder whether the Chelsea manager was cracking under the pressure.
The Israeli gave a string of one word answers to questions before telling journalists to “write what you like”.
Ferguson, however, refused to get embroiled in the matter.
“I'm not discussing that, you discuss that,” was his stern response when quizzed on Grant's behaviour.
Although his side are in the driving seat for the title, Ferguson has his own problems with news that French striker Louis Saha has suffered yet another injury which could rule him out of the remainder of United's season.
Saha is nursing a hamstring problem which has made him unavailable for Saturday.
“He suffered it in training. It's very disappointing,” said Ferguson, who is delighted to have tied up Ferdinand, Carrick and Brown on long-term deals.
“I'm not sure the length of the contracts, but David (Gill) phoned me this morning to tell me that they have agreed the contracts.”
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