The mind games have started – even though Fergie’s target at Chelsea has barely got his feet under the table.
After mental warfare with Kevin Keegan, Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez, to name but three, the United chief’s latest target with his verbal barbs is Chelsea new boss Andre Villas-Boas.
Sir Alex Ferguson, with one eye on an obvious rival to the Reds’ bid to land title number 20, said Villas-Boas had been presented with ‘an enormous challenge’.
Villas-Boas became Chelsea’s fifth manager in four years this summer, replacing Carlo Ancelotti, who was dropped after just two seasons.
Considering the huge demands made by owner Roman Abramovich, it represents an extraordinary leap of faith from the mega-wealthy Russian.
Villas-Boas only has two seasons of top-flight experience in the Portuguese Liga behind him - his performance at Porto last season was impressive considering he won three trophies, including the Europa League, and the title by 21 points.
And at just 33, he is the same age as some of the players he has taken charge of at Stamford Bridge.
Ferguson said: “It is a big step for Chelsea and an enormous challenge.”
It took the Scot back to the start of his own career almost four decades previously.
That was at East Stirling, where Ferguson was employed on a part-time basis and collected just £40 a week - his first task being to find himself a goalkeeper because the Scottish minnows did not have one.
“I was 32 when I started but I was managing a wee Second Division team in Scotland," Ferguson said. “All I had was a physio. I had no assistant manager or anything like that.
“He has the advantage, irrespective of his age, of having the staff he wants to have.
“It is a strong possibility he will have enough staff to overcome that type of move.”
Villas-Boas has already appointed former Chelsea midfielder and West Brom boss Roberto di Matteo as his new assistant and installed Ivan Ortega as his fitness coach.
Further appointments are bound to follow as Villas-Boas adjusts to his new environment.
"He has a very experienced bunch of players there and for a young manager having to go to a club of that size, experienced players are a help to him.
“We expect Chelsea to be challenging again.”
He also expects Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool to be breathing down United’s necks.
“Let’s be honest, you hate losing to any of them,” he said.
“One of those four will always be a thorn in our flesh. They are our immediate challengers. History doesn’t change.
“Okay, one or two may go off the radar for a spell. But long term you know they are going to there.
“Liverpool went off the radar for a bit. They are now back on it. Arsenal have been on the radar since I came down here. They have always been a challenger to us. Maybe not as much as they were eight years ago but Chelsea had a lot to do with that.
“It was the same last season. Chelsea were chasing us hardest. Arsenal looked as if they could get there but they just faded towards the end.
“No matter where it comes from, somewhere along the line we are going to be faced with a big challenge from one of those four great clubs.”