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PORTSMOUTH, England (AFP-Jiji) Sir Alex Ferguson tipped the Premiership title race to be decided on the final day of the season after seeing Manchester United’s lead clawed back by Chelsea to just three points for the first time this year.

United’s hopes of a repeat of its historic 1999 league, F.A. Cup and Champions League treble suffered a second setback in the space of a week as Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat against Roma in Italy was repeated at Portsmouth on Saturday.

The loss, United’s third in four seasons at Pompey’s run-down Fratton Park home, leaves Ferguson’s men needing to win five of their last six games to guarantee reclaiming the trophy after a three-year absence.

Ferguson, whose side travels to Chelsea in its penultimate match, said: “Losing was disappointing. An away game in the back of a European tie is never easy, especially having played most of Wednesday’s game with 10 men.

“That, coupled with the traveling, took its toll on us. Chelsea will seize on this result but they have not been playing at their best either. We are still three points clear and have a superior goal difference, and if I’d have been offered that at the start of the season, I would have snapped your hand off.

“We have six important games left, three at home and three away, and they are all cup finals between now and the end of the season.

“My team have been terrific up to now and we have got the players to do it. I think it could go to the wire, and if we get to the last day of the season and need to beat West Ham at Old Trafford, I would settle for that.”

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