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Apr 1, 2013

Fergie: Chelsea have had an easy draw

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson taunted Chelsea ahead of Monday's FA Cup quarter-final replay, claiming the Blues have had an easy run to the semi-finals of the competition in recent years.

• Blog: United relentless in win

Chelsea have won the FA Cup four times over the past decade and will be hoping to continue the defence of their title when they host United at Stamford Bridge.

By contrast, United's domestic cup success has been limited, with the Red Devils last lifting the FA Cup in 2004 and Ferguson believes Chelsea's dominance has been heavily aided by a smooth run to the penultimate rounds.

Chelsea have only faced one Premier League side (Southampton) in this season's competition, while United have met top flight opposition since they entered in the third round with a draw at West Ham.

"They have a good record, but we try to win it every year," he said. "The last few seasons we've had some very difficult draws. I think Chelsea have enjoyed the benefit of home draws over the past few years and I don't think they have had one hard game in their run to semi-finals over the years.

"And that helps, there's no doubt about that. But they have us to play and Stamford Bridge won't be easy."

Despite his insistence that United have been unfortunate in the cup of late, Ferguson admits his side were lucky to secure a replay after surrendering a two-goal lead at Old Trafford two weeks ago.

"I thought we were lucky to be honest with you," Ferguson said. "I think that tiredness had got into some parts of the team. And from a comfortable position for the first 20 minutes you could see us before half-time that we started giving the ball away and that is a definite sign of tiredness.

"I think the tiredness possibly came from the emotional intensity of the Real Madrid game and also the way in which we lost it. I think it affected two or three players in the second half - Tom Cleverley in particular - and our two full-backs' legs had gone.

"I think that was down to emotion because the way our full-backs are they put so much energy into going forward they find it difficult going back. That made it a long game against Chelsea and they had the advantage of having extra midfield players in their team.

"They really deserved to win the game in the second half. David De Gea's save was one thing, but also we were scrambling about to just get through the game. But we're fresher now and we have a strong squad in terms of picking two teams."

Meanwhile, Robin van Persie is hoping to end an eight-year run without a club trophy and is confident United put themselves in the driving seat to claim this season's domestic double with a 1-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday.

"Now we have done the job at Sunderland, we have to look ahead to Chelsea on Monday," he said. "We have to stay in there because we want to win the double. It'll be a big test, but I am confident we will play a good game there and get the result.

"It's been a while - maybe nine or 10 years - since we won the Cup, so it's important and we want to win the double. We made a big step at Sunderland on Saturday, but we want to go for both and we have a big chance of reaching the semi-final against City. I don't want to look too far ahead, but if we can beat both of them, we have a massive chance of actually winning it."

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