| 15.2°C Dublin

Gill admits it's getting 'tense' at the top

MANCHESTER United chief executive David Gill is predicting a "tense" end to the season.

United face Everton on Sunday knowing victory would mean a record 20th league title would be secured at the Etihad Stadium on April 30 if they also overcame Manchester City.

However, an mouth-watering as that prospect might be to Red Devils' fans, they are also aware that should their side slip up this weekend, City could take over at the top by registering back-to-back wins over Wolves and United. Little wonder no-one at Old Trafford is breathing easily just yet, even though a five-point lead with four games to play is in theory a healthy position.

"It's going to be a tense end to the season," Gill said. "If we do it, it will be fantastic but this time of year's not good (for the nerves). "You do get tense but we've done very well and are in good shape now -- five points ahead with four games to go. It's going to be tight but it's been wonderful."

Once United's fate is known, Gill can get on with his main business of the summer, shaping Alex Ferguson's squad for next season. The most notable players likely to be heading for the exit door are Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen and Bebe.


Record signing Berbatov has already been told by Ferguson that United would listen to suitable offers, Owen's contract runs out anyway, while Bebe is due to return from a loan spell with Turkish outfit Besiktas.

Normal rumours about player purchases are starting to intensify, and though Ferguson solved what appeared to be a significant weakness in central midfield by calling Paul Scholes out of retirement mid-season, it would be a disappointment to many United fans if the club did not try to secure at least one reinforcement.

Efforts will be made to try to persuade French youngster Paul Pogba to sign a long-term deal and, with Fabio due to leave on loan, a deputy at left-back for Patrice Evra is also required.

"There are various contracts we've got to do, we'll look at some acquisitions and there will be some players who will leave," said Gill. "It's an interesting time."