Sir Alex Ferguson has warned Manchester United FC against complacency against Rangers FC at Old Trafford.
By Jonathan Caswell in Manchester
Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson is guarding against complacency and urged his players to stay focused ahead of the UEFA Champions League match with Scottish champions Rangers FC at Old Trafford.
United took all three points at Ibrox two weeks ago, as an early strike from Phil Neville proved enough for the English champions to move above their British rivals in Group E. However, Sir Alex, for whom Paul Scholes is ruled out, expects the visitors to come to Manchester looking for all three points, with Alex McLeish's team having defeated VfB Stuttgart 2-1 before conceding a last-minute equaliser away to Panathinaikos FC in their first two games.
'They will attack'
"I think Rangers will have a go," the United manager told uefa.com. "They will want to get something from it, they won't sit back and defend. They will come and attack. But we have faced that situation many times in Europe."
'Positive and aggressive'
"They have to come here to get a result, but if we win we will be virtually certain of qualifying," Sir Alex continued. "Rangers will be left with four points having to get something to qualify, so they know what they have to do. But we don't want to be going to Panathinaikos in our next game having to get a result.
We must make sure Rangers do not control the game as they did in the first half last time. I hope we are more positive and aggressive in our defending."
McLeish, who played under Sir Alex during his time at Aberdeen FC, is hoping to spoil a special week for his United counterpart who celebrates 17 years in charge at Old Trafford this week. "We are expecting an even tougher game than on our own ground," the Rangers manager said. "We know United are one of the best club sides in the world. We have seen United lose at home on occasion but better teams than Rangers have lost at Old Trafford."
McLeish, whose side will be without Christian Nerlinger, Frank de Boer and Fernando Ricksen through injury, agrees with his mentor that the game will be a pivotal encounter in the group, saying: "
It will be a terrific occasion and the passion will be there from both sides and our players should be able to handle it and the noise."
Rangers goalkeeper Stefan Klos was part of the BV Borussia Dortmund side that won at Old Trafford in the 1997 semi-finals, and McLeish believes that that experience can lift his side. "Klos has already told the players what it is like to win, to have been one of the few who has humbled United at their own ground," said the Rangers manager, who acknowledged that a good result would set his side up perfectly for their remaining two games in the section. "We are aware of the confidence you would get from winning at Old Trafford and taking something from the game is very important to us."