Sir Alex has given some unintentionally ironic interviews before, but I'm not entirely sure there's been one worse than this:

...[T]he Clarets are facing up to a nightmare run of matches, starting with the visit of Manchester United to Turf Moor on Wednesday night.

It means unless Coyle's men can record a couple of exceptional results, they will find themselves near, or at, the foot of the table, with many pundits believing they will stay there.

Then Ferguson fears Coyle will be a man under pressure, no matter that he was responsible for their unexpected return to England's elite for the first time since 1976.

"I hope he has got an understanding chairman," said Ferguson.

"We live in a results industry. No matter what we think is fair or how difficult we think it is to get into the Premier League, some directors don't think that way.