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United prepares for emotional derby

Manchester, Feb 10: Despite falling out of the top spot in the Premiership last weekend with a 1-1 draw against Tottenham, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is very confident as his club prepares to host Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday.

"Your confidence is based on what you see on the football field," Ferguson told an English channel. "Obviously the way the team is performing at the moment, and the squad we have got together, gives you that confidence. These players have a great team spirit among them. They're hungry players, they never give in as they demonstrated last Saturday at Tottenham. These are fantastic qualities to take into the second half of the season."

United lost the first installment of this bitter rivalry back in August when the Red Devils got off to a terrible start by failing to win any of their first three games. United was missing Wayne Rooney through injury while Cristiano Ronaldo was serving a suspension, which changed the face of the game.
While Rooney will not take part in this match on Sunday because of suspension, Ronaldo, the top scorer in the Premiership with 19 goals, will be in the starting lineup.

His presence, along with a much-improved United side, should make for a different contest this time around.
Sunday's other match also is a highly anticipated contest between third-place Chelsea and fifth-place Liverpool.

The Reds are no longer a factor in the title chase, and have been forced to battle for the fourth and final Champions League spot after winning just one of their last six games in the league. Chelsea, however, is hoping to rebound from a 1-1 draw at Portsmouth last time out which left them six points behind league-leaders Arsenal.

Liverpool will have to do without striker Fernando Torres, who suffered a hamstring injury while playing in a friendly for Spain on Wednesday. That injury, plus the club's shaky form in recent weeks, makes it difficult to see Liverpool leaving Stamford Bridge with all three points.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Sunday, February 10, 2008, 11:41 [IST]
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