Friday, December 1, 2023

Lack of rest no problem says Ferguson

in English Premier League 25 Apr 2008


Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United will be well prepared for their title decider with Chelsea here Saturday despite his side having had less rest than their rivals.

United, who expect to have key defender Nemanja Vidic back after illness, flew to London on Thursday after their goalless Champions League semi-final draw in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Chelsea, three points behind Premier League leaders United, have had more time to prepare with an extra day's rest after a 1-1 Champions League semi-final draw at Liverpool on Tuesday.

United will also have the second leg of their tie with Barcelona a day before the Blues take on Rafael Benitez's side at Stamford Bridge.

While Ferguson thinks that Avram Grant's team have been given a major advantage, he is sure United have made the best of the situation.

“The fixture is not fair as well in terms of the timing between the two games,” United manager Ferguson said.

“The Liverpool fixture with Chelsea was Tuesday followed by Wednesday, so there is four days either way to get themselves ready, which is a big advantage, there is no question about that.

“Unfortunately, we have 60 hours to prepare for this game. All we can do is rest them. We stayed overnight in Barcelona.

“Then we had a light training session at Barcelona's training ground. Being in the sun and having a day relaxing is probably the best thing we could have done,” the Scot added.

Serbian centre-back Vidic came through training on Friday after missing the game in the Nou Camp with sickness.

With Chelsea trailing United and with a vastly inferior goal difference, Ferguson believes he can make one or two changes for Saturday's game at Stamford Bridge without great risk.

“I will freshen up one or two positions obviously. With the squad I have got, I can do that. But nothing definite at the moment but I will make a couple of changes.

“Vidic will hopefully be okay. He has trained and we are hopeful he will be fit. He has a good chance.

“We could achieve quite a lot in the next few days. The incentives are all there and we have the players to do it,” added Ferguson, who saw his 1999 United side lift the Champions League trophy as part of a memorable 'treble'.

“We have the squad to do it. We just have to make sure we are rested properly and prepared for the game. The game will take care of itself. It is a massive, big game.

“It would not have mattered where we would have been in the table. When you play the top four, you have to do well. Our record against them is not too bad. It is not great but it balances out overall.”

Ferguson believes Cristiano Ronaldo will not be distracted by criticism for his early penalty miss in the Nou Camp which, had he scored, would have secured United a valuable away goal.

“That is the modern way,” he continued. “There is nothing we can do about that. When you are as big as Ronaldo, they will always look for holes to pick.

“That is just the way it is. We will not worry too much about that.”




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