BLACKBURN, England (AFP) - Manchester United head into Sunday's trip to Blackburn knowing that even a perfect finish to the season will not necessarily be enough to overhaul Chelsea.
United have the chance to move a point above Carlo Ancelotti's side, who are not in Premier League action until they host Bolton on Tuesday.
But Sir Alex Ferguson's side are looking to recover from three games that have blown their entire season off course.
First there was the 2-1 defeat in Munich which saw Wayne Rooney suffer an ankle injury before they gave up their advantage at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 loss against Chelsea at Old Trafford last Saturday.
Over the next three rounds of matches, United play before Chelsea, giving them the chance to put pressure on the Stamford Bridge club.
Ferguson accepts that his team can only keep winning matches and hoping that Chelsea slip up.
"The significance is us having to win games. It's the only thing we can do, set out to win our matches," said Ferguson. "It's a hard task but the nature of our club shows we are capable of doing it.
"With Chelsea, if they make a mistake and we're winning our games, it'll be too late in the season to recover. That's the only advantage we've got. They've got difficult games but so have we.
"Arsenal have got the easier run in and this particular season could be different from the others.
"But I would prefer to be in Chelsea's position but I know is that a mistake can happen and does happen and it's been happening all season."
Ferguson has also refused to apologise for his criticism of Bayern Munich's players in the wake of the 3-2 win over the Germans in midweek."
The United manager was furious that the Bayern players crowded the referee to encourage him to send Rafael da Silva off for a second bookable offence and claimed they were "typical Germans" in a television interview.
But he said: "It was the end of the game, right at the end of the game you have to do the interview, because of Uefa rules. It's a bad time.
"The Germans let themselves down in the way they behaved to get him sent off. If they don't recognise that, there's nothing I can do about that. It was totally unfair getting the boy sent off.
Ferguson admits that United have to be on their guard at Ewood Park, where Blackburn have suffered just two defeats all season.
Sam Allardyce has transformed Rovers from relegation material into a mid-table side and Ferguson is full of admiration for the job that has been done by his friend.
He said: "Blackburn are Blackburn. Sam has galvanised them.
"He took over from Paul Ince and maybe Paul was just a little bit inexperienced. He went to a team that was breaking up, with players leaving.
"It was a hard time for Paul to take over but the experience that Sam's got helped that situation, knowing how to deal with that kind of thing and he's got the best out of his players and that's what good managers do.
"They're 11th in the league, their form has been good, some of their recent form has been very good. It's never easy going to Blackburn and it won't be on Sunday."
Rooney is set to miss out once again but John O'Shea could make a first start since November after recovering from a leg injury.
Allardyce admits he was relieved to see Rooney limp out of the second leg against Bayern.
He said: "Rooney has scored so many goals for them this year he would be a massive danger to us if he was fit and able to play.
"Wayne has scored the vast majority of their goals.
"Sir Alex is one of the people in football I'm close to along with Phil Brown, David Moyes and Steve Bruce.
"When we meet up we like to have a drink together and chew the fat and discuss football matters.
"I consider him to be the greatest manager of a team the world has seen over the last two decades, so you would always accept advice from someone like that.
"It's a nice thing to know you have got in your locker the ability, if for whatever reason you're struggling with something, to pick the phone up and discuss it with someone who has the guile, the know-how and the experience he's got."
|Coach: S. Allardyce|
for C. Samba 33'
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