Thursday 14 December 2017

Fergie foresees tight encounter at Bridge

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is not expecting a repeat of his side's "crazy game" with Chelsea earlier this season when the sides clash at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

Ferguson cannot afford for United's concentration to waver against the Blues after they hauled themselves back level with Premier League leaders Manchester City in midweek.

Stamford Bridge is the next stop in an arduous sequence of fixtures which will determine the shape United will be in for the title run-in. Ferguson realised when he met the Londoners in September that Andre Villas-Boas had introduced a new method of playing, but today predicted a tighter affair.


"That was a crazy game," Ferguson said of the 3-1 win at Old Trafford in September. "It could have been 20-18. I don't think it will be like that on Sunday. It will be much tighter."

Five months on, Chelsea still lack consistency but retain a formidable home record against the Red Devils, who they have not lost to in Premier League action since 2002.

"It's not going to be an easy game," Ferguson added. "In the last seven years there have been many terrific battles with Chelsea.

"The manager has brought in two or three different players and I noticed when we played them earlier in the season there was a change in the style from previous Chelsea teams.

"When a new manager comes in on the back of someone as successful as Carlo Ancelotti, changes maybe take time.

"Everyone has their different philosophy.

"That is what we are seeing with Chelsea at the moment."

Meanwhile, Ferguson is ready to thrust David De Gea back into the spotlight at Stamford Bridge.

De Gea came in for a huge amount of criticism for his performance in last weekend's FA Cup fourth-round defeat at Liverpool.

With Anders Lindegaard injured, 21-year-old Ben Amos, who made his Premier League debut against Stoke last week, offers another option.

But Ferguson said: "De Gea should be fit and whilst Ben Amos has had a little bit of experience, it is not the kind of experience you'd expect going into a game at Stamford Bridge."

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