VDS plays down 'missing medal' talk
Edwin van der Sar is refusing to get carried away by the prospect of completing his Manchester United medal collection in his final season at Old Trafford.
Van der Sar, 40, has confirmed his intention to retire this summer and, with six weeks of the campaign to go, it is shaping up to be the perfect finale too as United maintain their quest for honours on three fronts.
Saturday's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City holds particular significance. A member of the United side that lost to Chelsea at Wembley on their last final appearance four years ago, a winners' medal in the FA Cup is the only one missing from Van der Sar's time with the club.
However, Van der Sar is refusing to be distracted at this stage and is focused squarely on winning the semi-final.
"An FA Cup medal is missing from my collection but I am not going into the game more focused or tense because of that," he said. "At the end of tomorrow's game there is no medal or honour. It is just a semi-final.
"Obviously, it would be a great achievement to reach the final and give ourselves a chance of winning the tournament but at the moment I am not that bothered."
Van der Sar is expected to keep his place at Wembley, having made his first appearance in this season's competition during the quarter-final victory over Arsenal last month.
He is expecting a fairly raucous atmosphere from a capacity 90,000 crowd, and he accepts City pose a far more formidable threat that when he first moved north from Fulham in the summer of 2005.
"The derby has always been good," he said, "but it is a little bit more emphasised now because of the money that City have been spending in the last few years and the quality players they are bringing in.
"Maybe for them, the game is not played with the heart quite so much and more with their quality players. We have plenty of them as well though and hopefully they can make a difference for our team as they have done in the last couple of games."
United have lost just one of their last eight meetings with City and even that loss turned into a victory thanks to a second-leg triumph in the Carling Cup semi-final.
It is a superiority the Red Devils are keen to confirm at Wembley and one that emerges through triumphs of past seasons.
"We are a good team and we challenge for honours virtually every year," he said. "That is why we have quality players who will push us towards ending the season with a trophy or a big prize.
"It is almost normal that you come to days like this. Then it is the case of finding your form to make it count."