Sir Alex prepares for Manchester Derby at Community Shield

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will not change his approach to the Community Shield after playing down the significance of facing neighbours Manchester City in the traditional curtain-raiser to the new English season.

The local rivals, who go head-to-head at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday, will be looking to set the tone by lifting the first piece of silverware — as well as earn the bragging rights — just a week before the big kick-off.

But an unfazed Ferguson will resist getting “emotional” as he sees the game, which pits the English Premier League champions (Manchester United) against the English FA Cup holders (Manchester City) as another step in his pre-season preparations.

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“I have always viewed the Community Shield as a stepping stone to the first game of the season,” he told reporters here on Friday.

“It’s very easy to get emotional about this type of game but I don’t think we will be changing our policy. There may be two or three players who need the game on Sunday.”

There can be no doubting the warm up to the new season certainly has a spicier-than normal edge when the two Manchester rivals head to the capital.

First and foremost, it provides the red half of Manchester an early opportunity to avenge last season’s FA Cup semi-final defeat at the same venue against Roberto Mancini’s side, which paved the way for ending mega-rich City’s 35-year trophy drought.

But even more significant is that the winners will put an early marker down for the new season, especially with City expected to push Ferguson’s side all the way in the Premier League title race.

Despite Mancini, the Manchester City manager, once again opening his chequebook to sign the likes of Gael Clichy and Sergio Aguero this pre-season, Ferguson is just treating them as another rival with United looking to add to last term’s record-breaking 19th English title.

“We have expected that for a year or so with that particular facet of that club who have the money to spend,” added Ferguson.

“I thought they may have spent more this summer and it may still happen that they sign a couple of more players,” the Scot said. “But we get this almost every year as clubs around us buy.

“That’s how you view the importance of winning this league nowadays. Chelsea had a great spell when Jose (Mourinho) first went there.

“We accepted that challenge and it’s good for us as it keeps the complacency away from the door. So we carry on the best we can,” explained Ferguson, who has seen plenty of rival managers come and go since taking charge at Old Trafford back in 1986.

United are expected to be without Michael Carrick (Achilles) at Wembley after the England midfielder joined Javier Hernandez on the sidelines.

Ferguson confirmed the Mexican striker will miss the start of the league season as a precaution after suffering concussion last month.

“Chicharito (Hernandez) won’t be involved for maybe another two or three weeks – considering he had a concussion some years ago, we are just playing safe with that – but he should be back by the end of August,” explained Ferguson.

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