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Apr, 11, 2011

Fergie: We'll match Chelsea hunger

Sir Alex Ferguson insists Manchester United have just as much hunger to win the Champions League as Chelsea despite Roman Abramovich's "obsession" with the trophy.

Man Utd vs Chelsea preview
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Ferguson demands improvement

Chelsea head into Tuesday's quarter-final second leg at Old Trafford facing an uphill battle following the 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last week.

Rumours are gathering pace that Carlo Ancelotti will need to secure victory and keep their hopes of winning the competition alive if he is to keep his job, with Abramovich having made clear through his actions that it is the trophy he prizes above all others.

"It does seem to be an obsession with Chelsea to win the European Cup," Ferguson said. "That is why they signed Fernando Torres. The owner has every much nailed his colours to the mast in that respect. I have felt that for quite a while with him.

"To have an obsession of winning the European Cup is stretching yourself a wee bit. At the end of the day it is a very difficult competition to win, but I can understand it because I had the obsession myself for quite a while.

"I lost semi-finals and you say to yourself you are never going to do it. When we achieved it in Barcelona [in 1999], it was the greatest feeling of all time. It took the monkey off my back."

However, he added: "Chelsea are no more desperate than Manchester United, believe me. For any club, when the expectations are high you come to a situation where it is all or nothing.

"People talk about us winning the league but we are desperate to win this game."

Ferguson feels that, while his side secured a fine result in the away leg, Chelsea's familiarity with Old Trafford negates the impact of home advantage.

"A British team coming here is different," he said. "Though Juventus and Milan have played here a few times over the years, Chelsea play here every year.

"In that respect there is a familiarity about it. The stadium, the size of the pitch, the condition of the pitch - all these things are in their favour over other European teams."

Regardless of where the game is played, Ferguson is convinced that his players - having won six games in succession in all competitions - have hit form at the right time and will be extremely difficult to beat.

"Momentum is key," he said. "When you get that momentum it is difficult to knock you off your stride.

"Hopefully that is what will drive our players on. We are at an important time of year in that every game is a cup final now and the players are thriving on that.

"There were probably a lot of games earlier in the season when I might have been hesitant about making the changes I did on Saturday. Having the momentum, whoever comes in is carrying on the fight."

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