Fergie: Noisy neighbours won't go away

Sir Alex Ferguson has warned Manchester United's fans they will have to get used to scrapping for honours with their "noisy neighbours".

Sergio Aguero

Ferguson famously used that description to assess Manchester City two years ago, at the start of their £1billion quest to reach the top.

The summit is now in reach, certainly in England given City are three points clear of United in the Barclays Premier League and are favourites to advance from an eagerly-anticipated FA Cup third round tie at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

It is the third time the two clubs have met in cup combat in the past three seasons.

United emerged triumphant in a thrilling two-legged Carling Cup semi-final in 2010, only for City to gain revenge at the same stage of the FA Cup last season.

"The way we, and our supporters, should look at it is that we may as well get used to it because they are not going to go away," the United boss told Inside United.

"We played them in a semi-final last year and the year before, we're both in the Europa League this year and now we are facing them in the FA Cup.

"So we have to get used to the fact that City are going to be challenging for competitions along with us.

"There's every chance we're going to meet at some point - maybe not every year but on average it's going to be pretty regular.

"It's a hard FA Cup draw for us, but it will be hard for them too."

United will be attempting to avoid equalling an unwanted 11-year-old record.

Not since the end of the 2000-01 campaign, when the Premier League had already been won, have Manchester United lost three successive games.

Yet that is the fate that awaits at City if Ferguson cannot cajole a better performance out of his injury-hit team than they produced at Newcastle on Wednesday.

"It is obviously a big game against City in the FA Cup," said Ryan Giggs.

"The atmosphere will be good, we'll take a load of fans there and hopefully we can get back to winning ways."

Ferguson's continued insistence he does not require at least one addition to his squad during this month's transfer window is baffling considering how tough United are finding things at present.

And victory this weekend against opponents who recorded a scarcely believable 6-1 win at Old Trafford on their last meeting and have now opened up a three-point lead in the Premier League following their dismantling of Liverpool on Tuesday, will be extremely tough.



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