It has, nonetheless, been a galling week for Ferguson and United's fans will not take confidence from his assertion that the team might encounter more problems against the league's smaller clubs.
"The league is getting more competitive," said Ferguson. "This is the only place you can make money so you can understand, for instance, why West Ham have spent so much on new players. Portsmouth have done a lot of buying to make sure they stay up and for Roy Keane at Sunderland it has been desperate stuff trying to get players up there.
"When you see Sunderland and Newcastle have spent so much, and Middlesbrough spending £6m on Mido, it's not to win the league; it's to stay in it. Everyone is strengthening and that means the league will become more compact and more points will be taken off the top teams. It is possible that a team will win the league with fewer than 90 points."