Ferguson: United prepared to play cautiously

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said he was prepared to adopt an unusually cautious approach in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Arsenal.

Both Premier League sides are capable of playing sublime attacking football and although Ferguson hopes the match at Old Trafford is a classic, he would prefer a 1-0 victory.

"We need to win without losing a goal, I can put it that way," Ferguson told a news conference on Tuesday.

"I would be delighted to win the game 1-0. I would like to take that to the Emirates (Stadium).

"It's an untypical semi-final because it is two English teams but the principles are the same -- you hope to win the game and not concede a goal. That is always the case in a European tie.

United laboured to a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their quarter-final against Porto at Old Trafford before producing a disciplined defensive display to secure a 1-0 win in Portugal and continue their defence of the trophy.

"It won't be settled tomorrow I am sure of that," Ferguson said.


Ferguson said the quality of players in both sides gave the match the potential to be a great one but he believes the standard of defending will be the key.

"There will be more vigilance in terms of both teams awareness of not conceding a goal, particularly at your own ground," he said.

"I hope it is a really good game of football, I hope we play fantastic football and we win.

"I respect Arsenal's ability to play good football too and it could be a cracker."

The United manager said the top-four Premier League teams were now the dominant force in European football.

"Looking at the Premier League it is a very tough league now and the top four are probably the best teams in Europe at the moment and that has been shown by the fact that three (English) teams are in the semi-finals again.

"Last year we had an all-English final and there is the possibility we could have that again."

Experienced full back Gary Neville is United's only real injury concern with the rest of the squad training fully on Tuesday.

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