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By ESPN Staff

Ferguson: Evans will play in Carling Cup Final

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has known his Carling Cup final starting line-up for days.

After confirming on Friday that Darron Gibson and Danny Welbeck would face Tottenham, the Manchester United boss added the name of Jonny Evans after revealing the Northern Ireland international has suffered no reaction to the ankle injury he needed pain-killing injections in to get through Tuesday's Champions League trip to Inter Milan.

Ferguson has no intention of going public with the other eight names on his team sheet until an hour before kick-off.

But, from United's London base, the Scot admitted he knows who they are.

"I know what the team is,'' he told MUTV. "I knew days ago. There is always a reservation because you need players to get through a few days. But I don't think there is any doubt about Evans now, so the team is picked.''

Ferguson has never been afraid of making bold decisions for big matches, none bigger than his decision to drop goalkeeper Jim Leighton in favour of Les Sealey for the 1990 FA Cup final replay.

The tough task of telling bitterly disappointed players they are not involved has never got any easier for Ferguson, however.

"It is not an easy decision,'' he said. "Everyone wants to play in a final and players have been whispering in my ear all week saying they want to play.''

If Ferguson could field any number of permutations, he claims to know Harry Redknapp's line-up, with the one doubt over whether his old friend will choose Michael Dawson or Ledley King to partner Jonathan Woodgate in central defence for Spurs.

Although he is expecting a tougher game than many pundits imagine, Ferguson has been buoyed by Liverpool's defeat at Middlesbrough.

It leaves United seven points ahead of Chelsea, who have moved into second spot on goal difference, with a game in hand, and the Premier League title seemingly won.

For the Red Devils chief it has been a reminder of 2000, when United flew off the Brazil to compete in the inaugural World Club Championship, and returned to find none of their major rivals had won, leaving the way clear to retain their championship crown.

"This time we went to Japan and even I was fearful about how we were going to recover from being games behind Chelsea and Liverpool,'' he said.

"But the players have surprised me. The important game was Stoke away on Boxing Day. We got a late winner that day and since then we have really kicked on.''


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