United veteran Scholes draws on Treble memories for European glory bid
07 March 2009 02:44
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Paul Scholes is sure the memory of Manchester United's 1999 treble triumph can guide them past Inter Milan next Wednesday.
With the Carling Cup secured and another valuable three points pocketed at Newcastle on Wednesday, attention then focused on today's FA Cup tie at Fulham before the familiar figure of Jose Mourinho appears on the horizon.
Such a constant switch of priorities could easily cause confusion. Not at United.
The Red Devils won two major trophies last season, so the memory is pretty fresh. And Scholes is among a smaller group who experienced the ultimate success 10 years ago to remind him how it can be done.
"The experience of having been there and done it before has to be crucial," he said.
"A lot of players in the squad have experience of winning things. We know what a good feeling it is and we want it again."
Not that Sir Alex Ferguson's side is getting carried away by the number of trophies they might win.
"The small details about 1999 are harder to recollect but you do remember going for everything even if at this stage of the season you are not thinking about winning everything," Scholes added.
"Right now it is more about how far you can get.
"Once you get to the semi-finals, or have three or four games left in the league, that is when you are thinking about winning the big prizes."
No-one is taking a place in the quarter-finals for granted either.
United may have been the better side at the San Siro a fortnight ago but Mourinho has an outstanding record in head-to-head combat with Ferguson.
The former Chelsea boss has suffered just one defeat in 13 duels with the old master, a run that includes a famous two-legged triumph with FC Porto in 2004 which he celebrated by sliding down the Old Trafford touchline on his knees.
Ferguson will want to avoid a repeat, even if he has vowed to enjoy a tasty glass of red wine with his rival after the game, so the planning has been meticulous, knowing a single away goal for Inter would change the entire complexion of the tie.
Not that Scholes is getting too hung up about the situation.
With a relatively clean bill of health, United exude a quiet confidence, which has only been enhanced by the Wembley win over Tottenham last Sunday.
"Beating Spurs and getting their hands on a medal will give some of the younger lads confidence when they are used from now until the end of the season, as there is no doubt they will be," said Scholes.
"They are confident lads anyway, with great ability, so when called upon I am sure they will contribute.
"Competition in lots of different tournaments is a big challenge but that is what this club is all about.
"You want to be involved in everyone for as long as you can and try to stay in a strong position.
"We are a long way off yet but hopefully this year it will be all the way in all of them."