Fergie's No.1 target is Champions League

LONDON: - Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup or Champions League?

For Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, the choice is simple this season. He wants to get his hands on the European Cup for a third time above anything else.When you look at our record in Europe, it should have been better. And nobody has retained the Champions League since the new format. So that's a great challenge for us and, hopefully, we can do it.'

Which explains why he is more than willing to keep Wayne Rooney on the sidelines for tomorrow's FA Cup tie at Derby, with one eye on the Champions League last-16 clash with Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan on Feb 24.

Rooney has been absent with a hamstring injury for almost two months and was expected to return at West Ham last Sunday. But he was left out for the win at Upton Park and seems unlikely to be risked at Pride Park either as the Red Devils chase a quarter-final place.

Even his wife Coleen is doing her part, saying: 'I'm not going to be doing anything with Wayne on Valentine's Day.'

Ferguson will be boosted by the return of defensive trio Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans from a virus, a foot injury and an ankle problem respectively.

And there will be no danger of under-estimating the Championship side, after United lost the first leg of their League Cup semi-final 0-1 last month before winning the second game 4-2 at Old Trafford to reach the final.

Derby have their share of danger men.

Striker Kris Commons has a sweet left foot - scoring in the League Cup first leg. Strike partner Rob Hulse's size is hard to handle, and in goal, United will face old boy Roy Carroll.

And there is the aptly named midfielder Robbie Savage, who had been in United's hugely talented 1992 FA Youth Cup-winning side.

He is still bitter that Ferguson decided he was not going to be good enough to cut it and sent him to carve out his own top-flight career via Crewe.

'I was devastated,' Savage said. 'But I'll never forget when Sir Alex let me leave United, he said that he feared one day I would come back to haunt him.

'I'd love to think this is going to be that day. To beat them in the FA Cup would be very, very special, even though we all know that if they play to their potential, then they are likely to win it.'

via : news.asiaone.com


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