Sir Alex Ferguson
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Sir Alex Ferguson has hit back at Alan Hansen after the BBC pundit claimed Manchester United had "been woeful for the past 18-months".

Manchester United's victory over Stoke on Tuesday ensured Sir Alex Ferguson's side drew level with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

Last month, former Liverpool legend Hansen claimed Manchester United continued to look below their vintage best and Ferguson used his programme notes before last night's game to criticise the pundit's 'foolish' comments.

"I noticed Hansen was at it again, saying we had not played well for one-and-a-half years," the Manchester United boss is quoted in The Sun.

"I reckon that comment goes alongside his claim a few years ago that you don't win anything with youngsters. And you know how he ended up with egg on his face after dismissing the Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville crop of kids so foolishly."

Despite winning last season's Premier League title, Hansen intimated that Manchester United are not the force they once were and instead believes they are benefitting from their years of experience in winning the Premier League title.

The Match of the Day pundit believes Ferguson's side know how to last the distance in a league title campaign and because of that, Manchester United are the only club that can prevent Manchester City from winning the Premier League title.

"By their own standards, (Manchester) United have been woeful for the past 18 months. I can't recall Sir Alex Ferguson's team being so bad for two successive seasons." Hansen told The Daily Telegraph.

"At times, they have been at the bottom of the scale, but United are United and they are still just three points off the top, having been so unimpressive at times this season."

Hansen suggests Manchester United are sure to improve on their squad in the summer following something of a transitional period, and therefore the rest of the division must follow suit or risk being left behind by the two Manchester clubs.

"Despite being so bad, their experience of winning has seen United win the title last season and reach another Champions League final, so they can never be overlooked." He added. "I cannot see any way that they will not improve next season, so that is the challenge that Spurs face."