Belfast Telegraph

Sir Alex Ferguson calls for calm as Manchester United and Liverpool prepare for "massive game"

By Simon Stone

Sir Alex Ferguson has pleaded for calm ahead of Manchester United's FA Cup fourth-round trip to Liverpool tomorrow.

The sides meet this weekend for the first time since the spat between Luis Suarez and United left-back Patrice Evra, for which the Liverpool striker was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racist comments.

Ferguson is eager for the game to make headlines for the right reasons, though.

"As (Liverpool captain) Steven Gerrard said yesterday, there is a responsibility on the players to behave properly and also both sets of fans," he said.

"We want to make sure we are talking about the game, nothing else."

Ferguson refused to discuss whether he would select Evra, although it seems certain that he will.

"I am not getting involved in that," he said.

There has been a clear policy from United not to inflame an already tense situation, which, after writing to ticket holders earlier this week, led to Ferguson making a further call for co-operation between fans and the police and matchday stewards following an increase in the club's allocation, taking it beyond 5,000.

"It is a massive game for both clubs. There is a tremendous profile on it," he said.

"I am confident. We want to talk about the game of football. It is something you want to look forward to. That is what I intend to do.

"Our fans were terrific there this season.

"The issue of clubs reducing the number of tickets for our supporters has been going on for quite a while now. It has become a convenient way of selling their hospitality.

"But the stewards have a difficult enough job as it is. We should be helping."

Following reports that Nani could be out for two months with a foot injury and Wayne Rooney was a major doubt for tomorrow's game, Ferguson offered no clues as to the fitness of his players.

Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand may also miss out but Ferguson twice said: "We have a few hoping to be training this morning. I have no update really."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph