IT would seem that Sir Alex Ferguson has lost a grip on reality since retiring as manager of Manchester United.

How else do you explain his comments that the men from Old Trafford can still win the Premier League?

Of course, mathematically, being only 14 points adrift of leaders Arsenal in seventh, they can so he's technically not wrong.

But the same could be applied to Aston Villa in 10th and they're not going to win it either.

Ferguson's public backing of David Moyes is admirable, not least because he chose the former Everton boss as his successor last summer.

But he was hardly going to write him off, was he? Perhaps he should have done.

By anybody's standards, what is happening to United at the moment is dramatic. They have gone from winning the Premier League by 11 points last May to being also-rans this time around, and are also out of both major cup competitions. And it's only January.

Historically, this has always been the time of year that United have kicked into gear and taken the league by storm. Yet we have seen very little so far this season to suggest that is about to happen.

Ferguson's notion that Moyes should be given time to sort it out is commendable, even if he looks way out of his depth.

As one commentator put it recently, Moyes has a track record of finishing seventh. He is turning United into Everton.

He might be without Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie but this is a club who won the title last term with the same squad. They can't all have become rubbish overnight.

Do the signings made by their rivals really account for such a difference in league points?

Bringing in Juan Mata for a club record £37.1million is a step in the right direction but it won't be enough.