Millennium Post

Ferguson expects big year for Man United

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has told his players they are on the verge of a ‘big year’ as they hunt down a memorable treble.

Ferguson, whose side host Norwich on Saturday, is eyeing up his second treble, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season, and has called on his players to stand up and be counted as the pressure mounts over the final weeks of the season.

The Scot has told his stars that they will have to get used to the idea that many of them will not start every game as he looks to rotate his squad to ensure they remain fresh and injury free to challenge on all three fronts.

United are in the perfect position to chop and change as they sit 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League, allowing Ferguson to rest several key players against Norwich before their decisive Champions League last 16 second leg encounter with Real Madrid on Tuesday.

‘The players sense it could be a big year for them. But at this club, in this situation, anything can happen on the run-in,’ he said.

‘Players can all of a sudden find themselves playing in a final or an important league game because that is the kind of squad I have.’

Ferguson revealed he had to speak with disappointed players who did not feature in their 1-1 draw against Real at the Bernabeu.

‘It is very difficult to rotate the squad at the moment,’ he said. ‘They all wanted to play against Real Madrid and there were a lot of disappointed players.

‘That was fantastic. It is a measure of their own confidence in themselves.

‘But we had a chat. I said ‘look, don’t think for a minute losing a game for Manchester United is a trivial matter’. It is a serious matter.’

Chris Hughton is hoping his side can recreate the performance that saw them shock the Premier League leaders 1-0 earlier this season at Carrow Road.

‘The win over United was one of our best performances this season. For us to repeat that at Old Trafford would take a huge effort.’    
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