Manchester United Easter round-up: Sunderland reaction and Chelsea preview

FA Cup

News, view and rumours relating to Manchester United this weekend.

Manchester United beat Sunderland 1-0 on Saturday in a routine and comfortable victory at the Stadium of Light to retain their 15-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said in his post-match interview that his side showed “a lot of courage” to win and praised the team for their “determined defending”.

With their win over the Black Cats, United became the first team in Premier League history to win 25 of their 30 opening league fixtures.

The boss also insisted United will ‘remain relentless’ in their pursuit of the title, despite their sizeable lead.

"We are not concerned with what we have left behind us, we are only focusing on what is in front of us," explained Ferguson.

Midfielder Michael Carrick insisted that the title was United’s ‘only motive’ for their weekend win over Sunderland, not, as some had suggested, revenge for the Black Cats’ fans reaction to United’s title concession on the final day of last season.

"They weren't the only fans who enjoyed that, but that was gone and it was all about coming here with something different to aim for this time," Carrick told Sky Sports.

"It was about getting points for us, ticking another one off and keeping the run going, which we did, and we're delighted."

United now face Chelsea on Monday evening for their FA Cup sixth round replay at Stamford Bridge, which the boss admitted his ‘emotional’ players were lucky to achieve.

“I thought we were lucky to be honest with you (in the first leg),” Ferguson told manutd.com.

“That was emotions,” he added.

In team news, United’s predicted line up for the clash with Chelsea tomorrow night is:

De Gea – Jones – Evans – Ferdinand – Evra – Cleverley – Giggs – Welbeck – Rooney – Nani - Hernandez

Rafael picked up a knock on Saturday and is unlikely to feature whilst Robin van Persie, Ashley Young, Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia, Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling all played 90 minutes against Sunderland an will likely be replaced in the starting line up with fresh legs.

Defender Chris Smalling has revealed that United’s recent lack of FA Cup success is driving the team to beat the Blues.

“Manchester United are not used to not winning any trophy for that long and with the disappointment of the Champions League, I think we need to make sure we are going to challenge for it,” he urged.

Striker Robin van Persie has predicted that fatigue will likely affect the clash with Chelsea, which he asserted is unlikely to be a ‘classic’ encounter due to schedule congestion.

'It is not ideal,' he told MUTV.

“Normally on the second day your muscles are quite bad but now we have to play at this certain time,” explained the Dutchman.

“People have to realise they can't expect a great game of football because it is not possible,” he added.

Meanwhile, The Mirror claims that United are set to offer veteran defender Rio Ferdinand a contract extension, likely to be a rolling one-year contract similar to Ryan Giggs’ and Paul Scholes’.

In transfer news, the same source also reports that United are scouting Sheffield Wednesday youngster Hayden White.

The manager has also confirmed that, despite recent speculation over his future, Javier Hernandez is going nowhere.

“Javier is on a ­long-term ­contract. We won’t be entertaining any interest,” said the Scot.

In other news, United U19s beat Corbita 5-0 in a friendly held in Dallas, Texas.

image: © flawka

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