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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Ferdinand looking forward to Redknapp reunion

Rio Ferdinand has claimed Manchester United's performance in the first 20 minutes at Bolton last week was the best he has ever been involved in.

Against a Bolton side who had not conceded a goal on home soil prior to kick-off, the Red Devils were rampant.

Cutting the Trotters defence to shreds almost at will, United scored twice and could easily have had two or three more.

Even Bolton boss Sam Allardyce admitted his men had been taught a footballing lesson. And Ferdinand acknowledges hitting that type of form again will be extremely hard.

'The first 20 minutes was definitely one of the best I have been involved in,' he said.

'It wasn't that we passed the ball just for the sake of keeping it, it was passing it with a purpose.

'We got behind their defence and created opportunities. We could have been three or four up inside that first 20 minutes, which says it all really.'

The result allowed United to keep their noses in front of Chelsea in what is already appearing to be a two-horse title race.

However, the Old Trafford outfit face another stern test if they are to ensure they remain top for Sir Alex Ferguson's 20th anniversary celebrations on Monday as high-flying Portsmouth come to town tomorrow.

It promises to be a special occasion for Ferdinand given Pompey boss Harry Redknapp gave the defender his Premiership debut at West Ham, while old England team-mates David James and Sol Campbell will also be in the visitors' line-up.

'I have been texting David James for the last couple of weeks and I know he is really looking forward to the game,' he said.

'There is usually one surprise team in every season and this year it is Portsmouth. Harry Redknapp has done incredibly well to get them where they are.

'I owe an awful lot to Harry. He was the person who gave me my opportunity at first-team level for West Ham, so I will always be thankful for that.

'I have always held Harry in the highest esteem because he always instilled confidence in young players.

'He made you believe you were a great player. The players go out there and play for him. That seems to be what is happening now at Portsmouth.'