Fergie sets goal target in battle with Gunners

SIR ALEX FERGUSON will order his Manchester United team to go for goals as they look to secure a place in the Champions League final at Arsenal tonight.

Despite dominating the first leg at Old Trafford last week, United travel to the Emirates Stadium with just a single-goal advantage.

Crucially, however, they did not concede a precious away goal, meaning that if they do score against Arsene Wenger’s men, the Gunners would need three to set up a meeting with either Chelsea or Barcelona in Rome on May 27.

As United have not conceded that many since their semi-final hammering by AC Milan at the San Siro two years ago, it seems an unlikely scenario. Hence the manager’s call for Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and company to find the net.

“We have to go there with the intent of trying to score,” said Ferguson, “The important thing is to have a threat and, hopefully, we manage it. “We have the ability to score and if we can it would put us in a very strong position.”

United’s position in what Ferguson believes will be an “engrossing game” is strengthened by the likely availability of Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra.

The defensive duo were both rated doubtful at one point.

However, Ferdinand has shrugged off the rib injury suffered in the first-leg and the bruised lung that forced him to cough up blood in the home dressing room at Old Trafford. Evra should be fit, despite missing training yesterday with a leg injury. United are bidding to become the first club to defend the Champions League in its modern form.

“There is nothing I don’t know about Arsenal and there is nothing they don’t know about us,” said Ferguson. There is nothing you can hide.

“The challenges and clashes we have had with Arsenal in the past don’t reach the proportion of this one. “If we got the away goal, Arsenal have got to score three, and that is an advantage. But it will be a tight game. Wenger feels the Emirates crowd can prove “vital” in Arsenal’s quest to overturn United.

“They will be vital,” the Arsenal manager said. “It was one of the loudest Old Traffords I have seen.

“That was because Champions League semi-finals are maybe the most difficult games and most important games for everybody as you are 90 minutes from the final.

“We have the opportunity to put that pressure onto them, and certainly our fans will contribute to that.”

By Hugh MacDonald

Source: Evening Times