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Levein happy to stay in shadows
Published : 22 May 2009 14:28:48
The country is gripped by football fever ahead of so-called 'Helicopter Sunday' and, with the Old Firm again going for the championship on the final day, little has been made of United's own aims. The Tangerines need a point against Rangers to ensure a fourth-placed finish and an invite into next season's inaugural Europa League. Levein repeatedly voiced his disregard for the title race this week and is delighted his players have been allowed to get on with their work in relative peace. The Tannadice side are desperate to bounce back from last weekend's 3-0 humbling at Hearts and Levein has witnessed some electrifying training sessions in the build-up to the SPL's biggest day. He said: "The focus has been off us this week and that suits us down to the ground. "Everyone is looking at things in terms of the title race but, for us, the game means just as much. "It's a great occasion to be involved in - I'm relishing it - and as a player, if you can't get inspired by this then nothing will inspire you. "Our lads certainly seem to have responded and the tackles have been flying in during training. "I can tell they are really up for it and every single one of them is desperate to play. "They've been training at a really high tempo and have been tackling each other like it's a real game. "I'm not in the habit of telling them to calm down; that's the way they are and that's the way I like to see training. "Part of it is because of last weekend; we were out of sorts and the lads want to make up for that. "The other factor is that our whole season has come down to this game and everyone is just desperate to do well." United expect to have Spanish striker Francisco Sandaza available following a hamstring problem but German forward Andis Shala is likely to be missing. Levein needs Sandaza fit because he is already without Warren Feeney and Jon Daly so will ensure the ex-Valencia man is given ample time to prove his fitness. He said: "Fran did some training with us and he'll do a bit more on Saturday, so we think he'll be okay. "Andis is still struggling with his ankle and it looks like he won't make it but we'll wait and see - the extra day might help." Levein's striking problems will be eased next season with the arrival of ex-Everton starlet Danny Cadamarteri on a two-year deal. The 29-year-old can play either up front or on the wing so will add some versatility as well as top-level experience to the side. Levein said: "Danny is comfortable as a striker or on the wing, so his versatility will be an asset. "He's got good experience from his time in England and played a lot of games at the highest level. "His career has stalled a wee bit in the last few years but I'm sure coming to United and to Scotland will see the best years ahead of him."