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By ESPN Staff

Sir Alex welcomes security improvements

Sir Alex Ferguson has welcomed the extra security Arsenal intend to provide at the Emirates Stadium for Manchester United's visit.

Ferguson was unhappy at the treatment he received last year, believing Arsenal supporters have been allowed to get too close to the United dug-out.

After an internal investigation, the Gunners have reviewed their security arrangements and will provide increased stewarding for Ferguson and his coaching staff.

It is hoped the move will prevent a repeat of the ugly scenes during last season`s 2-2 draw which even someone as experienced as Ferguson could not turn a blind eye to.

"It is quite right they have improved the security,'' said Ferguson. "Last year was pretty unsavoury. In fact, I think it was nasty. It should not happen when you build a modern stadium like that.

"It is too open for my liking. It is a weakness in the planning that you don't provide safety for the visiting substitutes and staff.''

If anything, the abuse Ferguson gets at the Emirates is worse than it was at Highbury.

However, United also need to address the awful abuse Arsene Wenger receives from Red Devils fans before the Gunners head to Manchester for the return fixture on May 16.

Manager Arsene Wenger has pleaded with Arsenal fans to respect Ferguson this weekend.

"We always want to respect our opponent and to respect the dug-out,'' said the Arsenal boss. "The way we want to behave at Arsenal is to respect everybody.''

Ferguson's complaint was the latest ugly incident in the fixture, along with pizza being thrown at Old Trafford and Ruud van Nistelrooy being taunted after missing a penalty.

Wenger and Ferguson have been rivals over the past 12 years and the Frenchman still relishes their encounters despite his relationship with the United manager appearing less intense.

"Of course I relish these battles because we are two fierce, passionate men and you know we are here to win football games,'' he said.

"You do not last a long time in this job if you are not super-passionate about winning. We have that in common.

"I believe that over the years there is a respect there. The competition has been with Chelsea and Liverpool as well and that has diverted it a little bit, [the rivalry is] not only directly any more with Arsenal.''


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