Derby-day disappointment inspired the Reds to victory on Saturday against Arsenal in the FA Cup, according to Darren Fletcher.
Two-goal hero Fletcher said United desperately wanted to banish the memory of last weekends loss to Manchester City.
It was the perfect response to last weeks defeat, Fletcher told MUTV. We were all hurt by that performance and we wanted to put things right today. Our attitude, tempo and work-rate was top-class today and we got our just rewards.
Fletcher found the net either side of the interval but was typically modest about his performance.
Ive scored a few headers for United and today I was in the right place at the right time, he said.
We created some great chances today and it could have been even more. But the important thing is were in the next round of the FA Cup after a terrific team performance.
At times it was a bit feisty out there but you expect that in a cup game against Arsenal. Its part of the game and we enjoy that. Sometimes it boiled over a little bit but I think it was all right today. We try to tackle hard and fair and we enjoy it that way.
Sir Alex Ferguson is hopeful that United's enthralling 4-0 FA Cup victory over Arsenal will further enhance the Reds' title aspirations.
The Gunners hold a five point advantage at the top of the table having capitalised on United's derby defeat last weekend.
However, the Reds produced the perfect response with a superb display against Arsene Wenger's side at Old Trafford and Sir Alex believes United may have gained a psychological edge over the Gunners ahead of their league visit in April.
"I hope this result has an impact on the title race," he told MUTV. "When Arsenal come here in April they know they're in for a really good game.
"Who knows though - it's two months away and both clubs could be in different positions to now. But this result has certainly whetted our appetite for the league game."
Sir Alex was delighted with the overall team performance and had some special words of praise for two-goal hero Darren Fletcher.
"He showed what a good player he really is," enthused the boss. "Sometimes you go with horses for courses and this game was tailor-made for Darren. He always seems to do well against Arsenal. It was Darren's day.
"The whole team can be very proud of themselves. It was a really fantastic performance and a great way to respond to last Sunday's defeat. I think they were all disappointed with themselves. They felt flat and the emotions of the week probably took their toll.
"But they have made amends and atoned for that in a big, big way. It was a marvellous performance. They played with verve and tenacity, and the passing was terrific."
Wayne Rooney says hell be delighted if United draw Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter final.
The England international got the scoring underway at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon as the Reds romped to a 4-0 victory against top-of-the-league Arsenal.
Minnows Barnsley and Bristol City remain in the competition, but Rooney would prefer a tussle with Avram Grants Chelsea.
I hope we get Chelsea, Rooney told MUTV. Personally, Id like to play them at home and try to knock them out. After that well be through to the semi final and Im sure we can take things from there.
Rooney has twice been on the losing side in an FA Cup final and is determined to add a winners medal to his collection this season.
The FA Cup means a lot to me. Ive been excited by the competition from a very young age and hopefully we can now go all the way.
United swept Arsenal aside on Saturday afternoon even though the Reds began the match missing experienced players.
Last season we had to play all the players in every game, Rooney said. Today we had Paul Scholes on the bench and Ryan Giggs got a rest all together. That keeps them fresh and could be key come the end of the season.
We were very disappointed after last weeks performance against Manchester City. Training was difficult this week and we spent a lot of time talking about the tactics and how we were going to approach the game against Arsenal. I think we got it spon on.
The FA Cup quarter final draw takes place on Monday 18 February at 13:30 GMT.
Papers: Nani not to blame
18/02/2008 09:46Dont blame Nani
Not far behind Wayne Rooney as Man of the Match was fellow scorer Nani. It was easily his best game for the club and I dont believe he should have been criticised for his ball juggling towards the end that so angered Arsenal. Arsene Wenger said Nani had incensed his players and that it was disrespectful. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted hed had a word with his Portugal player. Why? What Nani did was simply skilful. Taking the mickey is when you blatantly try and show that your opponents are inferior. Nanis skill and control needs to be encouraged and I just hope the rollicking doesnt send him into a shell.:bsmilie:
Brian Woolnough, Daily Star
Elsewhere in the same paper, Woolnough criticises Arsenal for not taking the FA Cup seriously. If Arsenal are not interested in the FA Cup then they should be kicked out of next seasons competition, he argues.
The Sun features quotes from Rio Ferdinands interview with United Review, with the defender claiming now is the time to deliver ahead of the Reds Champions League clash with Lyon. I feel weve put so much into this season that to throw it all away now with bad performances and results would be criminal, he said.
Also looking ahead to the Lyon game, The Express hint Sir Alex Ferguson could drop four of Uniteds star performers against Arsenal. The paper claim Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Ji-sung Park and Nani could all find themselves on the bench come Wednesday night.:think:
United's squad should be bolstered by the return of four key players for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Lyon.
Sir Alex Ferguson left Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Owen Hargreaves out of Saturday's squad to face Arsenal, and restricted Paul Scholes to a 20-minute runout in the Reds' 4-0 win.
That key quartet should all be in contention to start, however, as United resume their European campaign against the French champions.
"I gave them a rest, although Ronaldo had a bit of a tummy upset," Sir Alex said after Saturday's win. "I was thinking about resting him anyway and perhaps put him on the bench, but when we found out he wasn't well, we decided to give him a complete break.
"The likes of Ryan and Paul Scholes - players with great experience - will play in Lyon on Wednesday. They'll be very important for us."
While United warmed up for Tuesday's trip to France in stunning fashion against Arsenal, Lyon slipped to a shock 1-0 defeat at Le Mans.
Manager Alain Perrin rested several players ahead of United's visit, and the result sees Les Gones' lead at the top of Ligue 1 cut down to just one point. Former Reds defender Laurent Blanc guided his second-placed Bordeaux side to a 6-0 win at Monaco.
Lyon midfielder Mathieu Bodmer believes the French champions have what it takes to knock United out of the Champions League.
Bodmer, who joined Lyon in the summer, knows all about the Reds from his time as a Lille player. Despite Lyon being out of form - they lost 1-0 to Le Mans at the weekend - he thinks they're capable of edging past United.
"The worst possible draw would have been Internazionale, they are very strong," Bodmer told uefa.com. "In England, United and Arsenal are above the others. But I have played United with Lille, and I'm sure we have a chance of going through."
The defensive midfielder didn't play in Lille's second-leg trip to Old Trafford last season but did play a key role in the previous campaign's group stage matches. In those games, Lyon earned a 0-0 draw in Manchester before winning 1-0 at Stade de France.
United had no trouble scoring goals on the weekend, however. The Reds smashed four past Arsenal in the FA Cup and Bodmer admits United's strikeforce is of most concern. "Cristiano Ronaldo is key, and the Rooney-Tevez duo works very well," he said. "They have lots of attacking assets but they hate to defend. Our aim will be to force them to defend."
Oooooo been away for a week nia so new thread liao. :devil: Man losing the derby was a disaster bt whacking Arsenal was sweet :bsmilie: they ought to be taught a lesson man. Lose liao blame the pitch :bigeyes: :bsmilie:
Read that Liv lost to a Div club as well. lol Benitaz managed to turn them into a circus club. :bsmilie:
"Manchester United have now been drawn against Premier League opposition in their last 11 FA Cup draws - their 3-0 win at Wolves on 20 January 2006 the last time they played a lower league side in the competition. "
Wa say...... Man U luck must be very good out of the 2 EPL team left n we have to kena one of them! :sweat: A little kelong lei.......
Sir Alex relishes Pompey tie
Sir Alex Ferguson was unsurprised that United were drawn against Premier League opposition in the FA Cup sixth round, but he is pleased the tie against Portsmouth is at Old Trafford.
The match against Harry Redknapp's men will be played on either Saturday 8 March or Sunday 9 March, with the winner booking a semi-final date at Wembley.
United's incredible run of all-Premier League ties stretches to eleven with the visit of Pompey, but Sir Alex says the cup atmosphere at Old Trafford makes it a match to relish.
"It's a home draw, so it doesn't matter who you get. But it's typical that we have another Premier League team!" Sir Alex told ManUtd.com.
"The good thing about the FA Cup, though, is that the opposition bring an increased number of supporters, which makes for a great atmosphere.
"We've had two great home ties against Spurs and Arsenal in the previous rounds, and hopefully we'll have another one against Portsmouth."
The last time the two sides met in the FA Cup back in last season's fourth round United ran out 2-1 winners.
Meanwhile, Bristol Rovers will play West Bromwich Albion and Barnsley host Chelsea. The winner of Middlesbrough and Sheffield United's fifth round replay will meet Cardiff City at home.
United, beware! Olympique Lyonnais have their own Cristiano Ronaldo. His name? Hatem Ben Arfa. And though still only 20, hes far from a newcomer his first game in Ligue 1 was in August 2004, a 1-0 victory at Nice.
Back then, he was seen as a talented amateur, and freely admits playing fast and loose with some of the strictures imposed on a professional athlete. Off the pitch, that is. On it, his incredible ease with the ball was not always a help either.
A talented player with immense potential, he was by turns breathtaking and frustrating. Many doubted his ability to succeed at the highest level, but after a series of false starts he scored just once in 2006/07 he is now serving up healthy slices of humble pie to his critics.
Against Toulouse, in mid-January, Ben Arfa was flying. His first half was out of this world, says Pierre Michaud, a journalist with French TV station, Euronews. And Michaud knows what hes talking about, having seen almost every match at Lyons Stade Gerland in the last five years.
Hes so unpredictable, he says, an adjective that crops up time and again in analysis of Ben Arfas game. He really makes it happen because hes such a powerful, offensive force.
Michaud likens Ben Arfa to former Lyon academy starlet, Steed Malbranque, but its arguable that he is now closer to the Premier Leagues premier wide player: Ronaldo. The lofty parallels dont stop there. Alongside Marseille midfielder Samir Nasri, Ben Arfa has been dubbed the new Zidane in France.
To be fair, Ben Arfas promising season has, in part, been made possible thanks to the emerging talent of his attacking colleague, Karim Benzema. Also 20, Benzema seems to be the final piece of the jigsaw neatly assembled by coach Alain Perrin.
Benzema, too, is a phenomenon. The youngster is a hybrid of Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs with the nous of Teddy Sheringham; the resultant package offers power, precision, speed and accuracy. Benzema has 16 goals in the French top flight and a further three in Europe.
Already a French international, he has made such an impact since winning his first cap against Austria last March that his Euro 2008 spot seems almost guaranteed.
Lyon have arguably never had it so good up front. But if this fixture offers a sterner test of Uniteds resolve than some might expect, the French are far from invincible. While the attack is flourishing, all is not well at the back.
Full-backs Fabio Grosso and Anthony Réveillère have been described as the weak links in an otherwise strong team. World champion he might be, but he is no [Eric] Abidal, said a Lyon fan of Grosso, while a scribe for LEquipe mused: Grosso is more of an attacker than a defender.
Lyon have leaked 24 goals in Ligue 1, very nearly a goal a game, and conceded eight goals in their six Champions League Group E games. But they do have Grégory Coupet back in goal after five months out with a cruciate knee ligament injury. He seems stronger than ever. His stand-in Rémy Vercoutre is an able deputy, but not up to coping with the highest levels of European football.
Last but not least, influential centre-half Cris is on the road to recovery, and itching to make the date with United. The Brazilian was injured at the start of last season and returned home for an operation on his right knee. Having recuperated at his alma mater Corinthians, he has only recently returned to training, but the injury now seems behind him.
Cris is all-too-aware of the problems Lyon suffered in his absence. I was far away, but followed what my team-mates were doing, he said. The start of the campaign was difficult because we changed coaches [Gerard Houllier was replaced by Perrin] and some major players left: Abidal, Florent Malouda, Tiago. We also had many injuries with Fred, Coupet and myself. And others did not fit into our style of play, such as Kader Keita [bought from Lille].
The burning question is, can Lyon overcome United? Cris certainly thinks so. People thought we couldnt go through against Rangers and we did. No team is easy at this stage, especially Manchester United. When one thinks of United, one thinks of the whole of the history of the game, the traditions. Their strength? Cristiano Ronaldo. But they also have Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney, and Louis Saha. These are the kind of games that offer a great stage for us.
Cris doesnt even feel a draw on their own patch would spell disaster. The Champions League is a complicated tournament. If we get a 0-0 draw, it will be an excellent result. A scoring draw or a win [at Old Trafford] would see us qualify. Once you reach this stage of the competition its like a new tournament. The team should know how to handle the various situations occurring, otherwise, youre out!
Without tempting fate, this clash has the potential to be a truly memorable affair. United are favourites, no doubt about it, concedes Cris. But Lyon have a great chance to go through."
Sir Alex Ferguson has taken a strong squad to France for United's Champions League tie against Ligue 1 champions Lyon.
The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Owen Hargreaves all returned after sitting out Saturday's thumping FA Cup win over Arsenal, forming part of a 20-man squad that departed Manchester airport this morning.
Sir Alex and one of his players will face the international media at a press conference shortly after touching down in France, before heading over to the Stade de Gerland for a training session ahead of Wednesday's crucial first leg.
All the latest news from United's trip will appear first on ManUtd.com.
United: Van der Sar, Kuszczak; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, O'Shea, Simpson, Pique; Hargreaves, Carrick, Scholes, Anderson, Nani, Eagles; Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, Giggs, Saha
United face a severe test in Lyon on Wednesday night, but Sir Alex Ferguson is confident his side will be inspired by the disappointment of last year's semi final exit.
A 3-2 win at Old Trafford gave United a slight advantage. Two weeks later in Milan, however, an injury-hit Reds team, chasing three trophies at the time, couldn't cope with a Rosonerri side focused solely on Champions League success.
First up in the knockout stages this term are Lyon, who are themselves looking to prove that they can convert domestic domination onto the European stage. With six straight Ligue 1 titles, this season's league leaders are a formidable force. But Sir Alex is confident.
"We got the hardest draw in terms of the teams we could have faced, but I think we can navigate it successfully," he told Inside United. "Lyon have won their league for the last six years and theyre top again this year, so I expect it to be a tough game."
The Reds boss admits that last year's defeat to Milan was difficult to take. "We want to do well this year in the Champions League," he added. "Losing to Milan last year really hurt us. We just didnt have the legs. We had a bad injury spell in March, which killed us.
"We'd lost Saha from December, then we lost Mikael Silvestre, Ji-Sung Park, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic. Three of those players didnt play again that season.
"Vidic came back against Milan. It was a gamble, one worth taking. Ronaldo was also carrying an ankle injury for that game. We were well short of being full-strength, whereas Milan had rested players and were primed for that game. We were unlucky. This year, if we stay fit well have an better chance."