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Sir Alex looks to tighten up and deny CFR

Published: Tuesday 4 December 2012, 21.15CET
While Sir Alex Ferguson is preoccupied with Manchester United FC's lax defending, Paulo Sérgio wants his CFR 1907 Cluj side to seize the chance of an "amazing achievement".
by Nick Aitken
from Manchester
Published: Tuesday 4 December 2012, 21.15CET

Sir Alex looks to tighten up and deny CFR

While Sir Alex Ferguson is preoccupied with Manchester United FC's lax defending, Paulo Sérgio wants his CFR 1907 Cluj side to seize the chance of an "amazing achievement".

Sir Alex Ferguson is demanding an improved defensive performance from qualified Manchester United FC when they host a CFR 1907 Cluj team fighting for second place in UEFA Champions League Group H. CFR coach Paulo Sérgio, meanwhile, knows his side must focus on their own job as they seek what he says would be a "amazing" qualification.

Manchester United are through as group winners.

CFR, third on head-to-head record, must secure more points than Galatasaray AŞ do at SC Braga to qualify for the round of 16.

United
Sir Alex Ferguson, manager
[The defending at the weekend] was like a Cartoon Cavalcade. We're getting punished when balls go into the box, but we should be defending far better. Reading did produce some fantastic balls into the box, but we should be expecting better.

It's a worry, a concern – if we perform like that on Sunday [at Manchester City FC], God knows what'll happen to us. You only have to look at our goals against: we've lost 32 goals so far this season. I can't remember us ever conceding so many goals before Christmas.

We'll rest some players, like we did against Galatasaray, but we have to be fair to all the other teams who are trying to get important positions, either in the next stage of the Champions League or the Europa League. In that respect, we'll send out a team we expect can win, but there will be changes.

It's amazing and strange how, when you change a manager, the results can improve, for a period anyway. Obviously Cluj will be looking for inspiration from their new coach and it can make a difference – no question.

Weekend result
Saturday: Reading FC 3-4 Manchester United (Robson-Kanu 8, Le Fondre 19, Morrison 23; Anderson 13, Rooney 16pen 30, Van Persie 34)
Lindegaard; Rafael (Smalling 31), Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Carrick, Anderson (Jones 46), Fletcher, Rooney, Young; Van Persie (Welbeck 74).

• United came from behind twice to win, with all seven goals coming in the opening 34 minutes. Sir Alex's men have trailed in 14 of their 22 matches this season, yet have lost only five.

Team news
Rafael was taken off with a knock in the first half on Saturday. Nani (hamstring) and Antonio Valencia (hip) are sidelined, while Sir Alex said Cluj's visit had also come too soon for Nemanja Vidić (knee): "He feels he needs another few days' training, so won't be available." Shinji Kagawa (knee) may make the bench.

CFR
Paulo Sérgio, coach
We always prepare by thinking we can take something from the game – this game is no different. Of course, everybody recognises the quality of Manchester United and what they have done over the years, but who knows if tomorrow will be our day or not. We know that in football everything is possible, and I'm sure if we played ten or 15 games here we'd win one; hopefully that'll come tomorrow, but you never know.

If you start thinking about things you can't control, you may lose sight of what you can actually control. So we're focusing on our job, on what we have to do. The rest is football. It's not important for me what Braga and Galatasaray are doing or what United do. It's important to me that we focus on what we have to do, that we play good football and that we try and get a result.

It would be an amazing achievement [to qualify]. I think that at the moment we should be happy that we'll at least be in the Europa League. I don't think any of you would have bet on us before the group stage began. Reaching the knockout phase in Europe is a great achievement and if that was in the Champions League it would be amazing.

Weekend result
Saturday: CS Gaz Metan Mediaş 1-1 CFR (Llullaku 58; Valente 36)
Stăncioiu; Aguirregaray, Maftei, Rada, Sepsi; Vass, Godemèche; Valente (Bastos 59), Celestino (Rui Pedro 68), Hora (Kapetanos 79); Bjelanović.

• Diogo Valente notched his first Romanian First Division goal for the club as CFR head into the winter break with 29 points from 18 games, ten less than at the same stage last term.

Team news
CFR have no new injury concerns.

Match fact
• CFR are guaranteed to be competing in Europe after Christmas for the first time.

Last updated: 25/09/14 4.13CET

Related information

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2013/matches/round=2000347/match=2009574/prematch/preview/index.html#sir+alex+looks+tighten+deny+cfr

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