Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Ferguson questions semi-final plans

Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has accused the Football Association of not thinking about the cost being heaped on fans attending next month's FA Cup semi-finals.

Manchester United will tackle Manchester City at Wembley on April 16, 24 hours before Bolton take on Stoke. All four teams face a very similar journey, with fans ensuring trains and motorway service stations are packed on the same weekend Arsenal entertain Liverpool and the annual London Marathon attracts visitors from all over the world.

"It's going to be absolute chaos," he told Inside United. "I don't think the cost of people travelling down to Wembley is considered. There will be 60,000 people coming down from Manchester - think about how much petrol is used for that?"

The comments from United's monthly magazine were released on the same day Ferguson appeared at a press conference to announce the club's pre-season match with the MLS All-Stars on July 27. It forms part of a five-match tour that opens in Boston on July 14 and ends with a clash against Barcelona in Washington on July 30.

By that time, United could have emulated the heroes of 1999 by claiming the Treble. However, Ferguson, whose side must overcome Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-finals in addition to their attempt to retain the Premier League leadership, feels the task is far harder than it was back then.

"It is going to be more difficult than it was in 1999," said the Red Devils boss. "We didn't have the injuries we do now. There is a great desire to do it but we have so many injuries to defenders at present.

"We will never give in though. No matter what happens, you always feel Manchester United will score in the last minute. We must have a chance but it is more difficult than it has ever been."

And, even though United do have a five-point lead over Arsenal in the title race, with Chelsea closing fast, Ferguson accepts nothing can be taken for granted.

"It looks as if its going to be us and Arsenal, but you never know," he said. "Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham are still in the frame. You can't dismiss them. But there are some important games coming up.

"The way I look at it is every game is a winner now. These are must-win games, in the sense that every time you get three points, it's another step closer to the finish line."

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