United target Bayer win to help focus on league

26 November 2013 01:16

Rio Ferdinand wants Manchester United to book their place in the Champions League's knock-out stages by beating Bayer Leverkusen away on Wednesday so they can focus on the Premier League.

United slipped to a disappointing 2-2 draw at Premier League new-boys Cardiff City on Sunday which left them sixth in the table and seven points adrift of leaders Arsenal.

David Moyes's side are unbeaten in their last ten matches but the Cardiff draw cost them a top four place in the Premier League.

Now Ferdinand wants United to win at Leverkusen's BayArena to confirm their progression in Europe, so they can return their focus on the Premier League until next year's knock-out stages.

"We want to finish the job, get it done early so we can get back to the Premier League and have nothing else distracting us," said Ferdinand.

"They're a well-equipped team and it's not going to be easy but we're more than capable."

Moyes's United top Group A with eight points, just one ahead of hosts Leverkusen, and both sides would guarantee their place in the knock-out stages with a win.

Should Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk lose at home to Real Sociedad in the section's other game, United and Leverkusen would progress with a draw.

"We've got a really important game coming up on Wednesday and we know we need to get our heads up and make sure that we qualify," said United midfielder Tom Cleverley.

"It's good we've got that game because you want to try and get a rhythm going and bounce back from a disappointing result.

"Wednesday can't come quick enough for us."

Dutch striker Robin van Persie (groin) and Nemanja Vidic (concussion) are both hoping to feature in Leverkusen after missing the Cardiff match.

Rafael da Silva (ankle), Shinji Kagawa (bruised foot) and Phil Jones (abductor) are all rated doubtful, while Michael Carrick is definitely out with an Achilles tendon injury.

Since losing 4-2 at Old Trafford in September in their opening match, Leverkusen have picked up seven points from their three games with home victories over Real Sociedad and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Bayer's director of sport Rudi Voeller has described United's visit as "the game of games" for Leverkusen, who are second in the Bundesliga and the hosts are itching to claim a famous scalp.

They will be without Germany winger Sidney Sam, who tore his thigh after just four minutes of Sami Hyypia-coached Bayer's 1-0 win at Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

"This is one home game we definitely want to win," said striker Stefan Kiessling.

"The stadium will be sold out and games like these are fun.

"With the fans support, we'll be looking to win the game, so we are in charge of our own qualification.

"We showed them a bit too much respect in the away game, maybe we were a bit scared too, but that won't be the case this time around.

"We showed in our last home game what we can do (a 4-0 win over Donetsk in October) and we want a similar performance."

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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