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50-50 Challenge: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

El Clasico 1 day ago
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Cobos: Neymar stronger in 2014-15

Barcelona 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jan 12, 2006

'Nothing to fear at Old Trafford'

Blackburn winger Morten Gamst Pedersen firmly believes his side can do an Old Trafford 'double' over Manchester United this season and reach the Carling Cup final.

Pedersen scored a stunning equaliser in last night's first leg of their semi-final at Ewood Park to leave the tie delicately poised ahead of the return in 13 days' time.

Although Sir Alex Ferguson's side dominated the game in terms of possession, the Norway international felt United had nothing to show for all their huffing and puffing.

Pedersen, who scored both goals in Blackburn's surprise 2-1 Premier League victory at the Theatre of Dreams at the end of September, is confident there is nothing to fear from United.

'They are just human and we know we can beat them,' said Pedersen, with Blackburn now unbeaten in their last five meetings with United.

'We did it before at Old Trafford. We know what we did last time, so why can't we do that again?

'We are not complaining about getting a draw at home because we are coming good now and know what we can do.

'United didn't have many chances. They just played the ball around and around.

'They had the ball more than us in the second half, but I never felt they were really dangerous and that's encouraging.

'If anything we had the big chance to win it in the second half.

'But the defence played really well and everyone worked really hard so we deserved to get a draw.'

Rovers manager Mark Hughes also feels a return to the Millennium Stadium, after losing to Arsenal in an FA Cup semi-final last season, is within reach.

'It's very much half-time, and we're very much in the tie which we are pleased about,' said Hughes.

'Ideally we would have preferred to be taking a winning margin to Old Trafford, but on reflection, given the type of game it was, I think both sides were happy with a draw in the end.

'It means we've got to go to Old Trafford and win now. We've been able to do it once this season, so we know how to do it.

'It's whether or not we can do it again. We all feel we can. We will go there and have a right go.'

Hughes reckons the greatest compliment to his side was paid by Ferguson, with the Scot fielding a near full-strength line-up.

'The team Sir Alex put out last night showed the respect they hold us in,' added Hughes.

'The game was a great advert for cup football, a real competitive tie, played in the right spirit.

'I think everybody involved, both watching and taking part, enjoyed the game.

'Both sides looked to get a win out of it first time of asking, but overall I'm happy with the result.'

After releasing striker Matt Jansen from his contract earlier this week, Hughes has allowed another experienced player to leave Ewood Park.

Long-serving midfielder Garry Flitcroft has joined Championship promotion hopefuls Sheffield United on an 18-month contract.

'Garry has been a great servant, a great captain, and a good leader on and off the field,' said Hughes on a player who spent nearly 10 years with Rovers.

'He's had a few injuries, which at times have stopped him from playing when an opportunity was there.

'But Garry's attitude has always been first class, which is what you would expect from the former club skipper.'