Ferguson said: “Chelsea aren’t getting their own way like they have done for the past couple of seasons and we are serious contenders now.
“But I always said that if we got to January and we were top of the league I’d be happy with that and I am.
“I just don’t know what to make of the Newcastle game. We missed a stack of chances, but I have to admire the grit and character of that Newcastle team. They fully deserved their point.
“It’s not an easy place to come but we had enough chances to win the game and should have done better.
“We didn’t play as well as we have been playing. Newcastle didn’t allow us to play our normal game. They wanted to be first to every ball and first to every tackle and credit to them for their attitude.
“In terms of the race for the title there will be points lost by both teams and it’s a real challenge now for us to go on and win the championship.”