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Ferguson pleased with Arsenal respect

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has thanked Arsene Wenger for the guard of honour Arsenal will give the champions on Sunday.

After securing their 20th English top-flight title on Monday against Aston Villa, Ferguson’s men will visit Arsenal in what is traditionally one of the best games of the season.

Arsenal boss Wenger announced earlier this week that his players would show their respect to United before the match, a move that has pleased Ferguson.

“I’m glad Arsene has done that,” Ferguson said.

“When they came to Old Trafford some years back [2002], we did exactly that and that’s what great clubs should do.”

While Arsenal’s players will give Manchester United a good reception, the same cannot be said for the supporters of Wenger’s side.

Dutch striker Robin van Persie – who crossed from Arsenal to United for 24 million pounds in the off-season – has enjoyed a stellar campaign for his new club, scoring 28 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions.

Sunday’s fixture will be the first time he returns to Emirates Stadium and he is sure to be the target of vocal abuse from the Arsenal supporters, not that it will bother him or Ferguson.

“I’m not really bothered about that [Van Persie's reception] to be honest with you,” he said.

“I don’t think Robin should bother about it either. There was some booing of him when he p
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layed against Arsenal at Old Trafford and I think you probably expect a portion of the fans will do that.

“But that’s the modern generation and modern society, I’m afraid. Robin showed in his celebrations how much winning the league meant to him.”

Despite having the title wrapped up, Ferguson has called for his players to finish the season the way they started and in the process, achieve the record points tally in Premier League history, which is achievable if the club win their last four matches.

Games against Arsenal and Chelsea will also ensure his players need no extra motivation, according to Ferguson.

He said: “Having won the league, there’s always a danger of falling into the trap of ‘it’s all over and we can relax’ and enjoy ourselves but I think we’ve got a duty to other clubs who are chasing Champions League places.

“Also, the rivalry we’ve had with Arsenal and then Chelsea [who United will play on May 5] over the years does put an edge to these games anyway so hopefully we’ll represent ourselves in the right way.”

Ferguson added that he expects to have a near full-strength squad to choose from on Sunday, with Ashley Young a chance to return from an ankle injury.
Fri 26 April, 2013
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