ENGLAND - Sir Alex Ferguson admits Manchester United are "clutching at straws" in their bid to win the Premier League for a record fourth consecutive time.
But the Old Trafford boss insists his team will push Chelsea all the way after setting up a dramatic last-day shootout to decide the destiny of the title.
Portuguese midfielder Nani struck before half time to seal a comfortable 1-0 win at mid-table Sunderland on Sunday to pull within a point of Carlo Ancelotti's leaders, albeit with a vastly inferior goal difference, ahead of Sunday's final round of fixtures.
United must beat Stoke, who were humbled 7-0 at Stamford Bridge last month, and hope the hugely inconsistent Wigan, who beat Chelsea at home in September, pull off a major shock to deny the Blues a first title in four years.
Ferguson admits it is a highly unlikely scenario as, for the fifth time, the Premier League heads into its final weekend with the title still up for grabs.
The Scot, who wasn't this time indulging in his famed mind games, more just stating facts, said: "All we can do is to win our game but we're clutching at straws a little bit."
The towel hasn't been thrown in yet and Ferguson retains some hope of a footballing miracle taking place at the weekend to pave the way to a record 19th top-flight title.
"Wigan are a very good football team and they'll go to Chelsea and have a go so you never know what could happen. It's a crazy game. Manchester City did us a favour in beating Chelsea twice this season and Wigan are another neighbour of ours so we'll see," he said.
Ferguson insists United must take care of business against the Stoke side, which is beset by dressing-room strife. - Sapa-AFP