LONDON (AFP) - Alex Ferguson insists under-fire Manchester United manager David Moyes can still salvage his side's season with a strong run in the second half of the campaign.
United have struggled badly since Ferguson retired at the end of last season after almost 27 years in charge at Old Trafford.
Ferguson hand-picked Moyes as his successor but the former Everton boss has so far failed to emulate his fellow Scot's triumphant reign.
United are languishing 14 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal and face a battle just to finish in the top four.
To make matters worse they have also crashed out of both the FA and League Cups.
Yet Ferguson says there is no limit to what United can achieve if they can turn on the style in the manner his teams so often did in the decisive final months of the season.
"United can do anything. They have got that great philosophy and history, they will always do well," Ferguson said.
"I can watch the team whenever I want and I've really enjoyed it. I'm going as a supporter now and instead of suffering with the team, I'm suffering or enjoying it with the fans. I'm really enjoying watching the team play." Ferguson was given strong support by United's board of directors when he struggled during the first few years of his reign.
And he is confident United's current owners the Glazer family will show the same kind of backing for Moyes.
They have already given the green light for Moyes to spend a club record £37 million to sign Spain playmaker Juan Mata from Chelsea.
And Ferguson told BBC Sport: "Of course they will (stick to their philosophy), they've always been that way.
"There's no need to go down that road (discussing Moyes' future). Everybody knows what Manchester United is, absolutely 100 per cent." Ferguson cannot understand clubs who constantly chop and change managers without giving them time to succeed and he doesn't expect Moyes to suffer the same fate.
"I can never understand that. They (the club's board) must discuss the qualities of the manager they are going to offer the job to, you must look at his CV, his character, the philosophy he has," Ferguson added.
"Now if that is the way they have gone about giving the man the job, why don't they persevere with it? "So then maybe it goes for a year, then they change, and then they go through the same procedure again. It seems to me so stupid." There have been suggestions that Ferguson's regular presence in directors' boxes at United matches since his retirement may not be helping Moyes to settle in, given plenty of focus continues to be afforded to the 72-year-old Scot.
But Ferguson is holding out hope for a late United surge in one of the most wide-open Premier League title races in recent years.
"This year for the first time it really looks as if five or six could be involved (in the title race), so it's a great Premier League," Ferguson told Sky Sports News.
"You have to say Manchester City are playing so well, there is no dispute about that, but the teams at the top at the minute must have a big chance.
"Arsenal must have a big chance. Everyone keeps writing them off, saying they won't last, but we're into the second half of the season and they are still there. Then you've got Chelsea, Everton, Tottenham, who are starting to do well.
"United always do well in the second half of the season, so we've got a fantastic league and we should be proud of that."