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Sir Alex Ferguson has praised interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez for the job he has done in recent weeks, saying the Spaniard has been helped by the Stamford Bridge fans getting off his back.

• Man United v Chelsea preview
• Benitez applauds spirit

Ferguson and champions Manchester United face a Chelsea team in third place in the Premier League, and in the Europa League final after victory against Basel, at Old Trafford on Sunday.

But he could not resist a dig at his former Liverpool adversary, saying: "He is very concerned about his CV - he refers to it quite a lot - but you can't dispute the fact he has done a good job in the last few weeks.

"The key to it is that the fans have settled down a little bit. They have left him alone. He has got on with managing his job.

"It can't be easy, listening to pressure from the fans all the time. They have eased up. It has allowed him to relax, and they have produced some good results.''

Ferguson said he did not know whether Jose Mourinho, who has been heavily linked with returning to Stamford Bridge, was planning to do so.

"I don't know if that is happening,'' he said. "I have no idea what Jose is doing.

"He said he is loved by one English team, and going back is a big attraction for him - if his time at Madrid is finished, of course."

United will be without striker Danny Welbeck at Old Trafford because of a knee injury, but midfielder Paul Scholes is expected to return to the first-team picture.

"Danny is out for Sunday,'' Ferguson said. "We hope to have Paul Scholes on the bench to get him back in the fray."

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