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Jan 8, 2011

Sir Alex out to avoid a shock

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will take no chances against Liverpool in Sunday's FA Cup tie at Old Trafford - and suggested that defeat to the Red Devils' arch rivals would be a shock.

United were dumped out of the competition in the third-round last season - for the first time in Sir Alex's tenure - at the hands of League One side Leeds United. He chose to rest players against the West Yorkshire club and paid the ultimate price.

Sir Alex, who will come up against an old for in Kenny Dalgilish - who has replaced Roy Hodgson at Liverpool, is determined that United will not come unstuck this January.

He said: "It's a cup-tie and there are shocks in cup-ties. They've been there since it started. Great reminders are when Hereford beat Newcastle.

"It happened with Yeovil Town, York City over the years. Bournemouth beat Manchester United. The FA Cup is a tournament you can never be sure about. We made a mistake last year of picking a team that we thought would be good enough to beat Leeds.

"We had a reminder that the FA Cup has shocks in it. We had one last year. We hope we don't get one this year.

"It's a tournament you can't take for granted. We did last year and we got a reminder. It's the first time I'd lost a third-round tie since I came to the club.

"It didn't sit well with me. I was sick for a few days, I didn't enjoy it. Hopefully I will enjoy this better."

Ferguson also insisted that Michael Owen is still part of his plans despite the striker being linked with a move to Aston Villa or West Ham United.

He said: "Now he is back fit, Michael will always be considered part of the squad and he will play in some big games. I have not spoken to him about next season. There is no need for me to discuss that at the moment."

Owen says he has no regrets over his decision to join Manchester United despite only being a bit-part player at the club. He has made just 39 appearances, the vast majority as substitute.

"I knew when I came here that I wouldn't play every game and it would be a bit different to what I was used to,'' he told United Review. "But I will sacrifice playing every game for the opportunity to play and train with the very top players and work under a top manager.

"I haven't been disappointed at all by my time here. I have loved every minute. Obviously you always want to play and do your bit. And I feel as though I have scored a few goals when I've played.

"At Manchester United, though, the hard part isn't scoring goals on the pitch - it's getting onto the pitch in the first place. It's a new challenge for me and, in many ways, it's one of the appeals of being here.''

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