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Park Ji-sung backs Manchester United to be top when he returns from Asia Cup

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24 Dec 2010 14:37:10

Park Ji-sung backs Manchester United to be top when he returns from Asia Cup

Park Ji-sung is certain Manchester United will still be top of the Premier League when he returns from national duty in February. Park will appear in the Boxing Day encounter with Sunderland before bowing out to undertake Asia Cup duties for South Korea in Qatar. It is a fairly inconvenient moment for the 29-year-old, who is enjoying his best season for the Red Devils since his arrival from PSV Eindhoven in 2005 and has already registered his highest goals tally of six. But the energetic midfielder does not think his absence will hamper United too badly. Park patrol: Man United's No 13 is enjoying his best goalscoring season to date And when he returns from the tournament, the final of which will be played in Doha on January 29, he expects the Red Devils still to be peering down at the chasing pack. 'I totally believe we will still be No 1 when I come back,' said Park. 'I have no doubts we will be in the same position as we are at the moment. 'Playing for the national team is an honour but I am going to miss several games, so it is quite disappointing. But Manchester United have a big enough squad to be very strong and they will do well without me.' Given his recent impressive performances, Sir Alex Ferguson probably wishes the Koreans would take an early exit. Main man: Park (centre) is South Korea's answer to David Beckham That scenario is unlikely, even though they have been drawn in a tough-looking pool that also contains Australia - who reached the last World Cup - and Bahrain - surprisingly beaten by New Zealand in the play-offs - as well as makeweights India. But thoughts of what is happening in England will not be too far away, particularly as Bolton's Lee Chung-yong will be alongside Park in Qatar, plus a healthy smattering of youngsters all eager for information on one of the world's most attractive leagues. 'I will keep an eye on United's schedule and results and will focus on the team when I am away,' said Park. 'A lot of the South Korean players are very interested in the Premier League. They ask questions about what life there is like, so I try to give them answers.' After balancing commitments for clubs in Europe and internationally back home for almost eight years, Park is giving serious thought to announcing his international retirement. No official decision has been made yet. However, all the indications are Park will stand down once his work in Qatar is done. Pride: It has been suggested the Asia Cup will be Park's last 'For now I can't say anything. Maybe after the Asia Cup I will,' he said. In any case, for a couple of days at least he has work to do with United as they take on a Sunderland outfit who have performed magnificently against all the title contenders this term. The Black Cats hammering of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last month was greeted with stunned amazement, whilst Ferguson regards United's draw on Wearside in October as the toughest examination his unbeaten side have had on their travels all year. 'Sunderland have shown what they can do against the big teams,' said Park. 'Their victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was a great result. They probably think they can do the same at Old Trafford. We need to be aware of that and concentrate because this will not be easy.' With Arsenal and Chelsea going head-to-head at the Emirates on Monday, three points would put United in a very handy position at the start of a period which Park accepts will play a major part in shaping United's entire campaign. 'Previous seasons have suggested this is quite an important period because there are so many matches in such a short space of time,' he said. 'There is a long time to go but four games in nine days is quite a lot. If you are not in form, you can lose a lot of points very quickly. 'In order to win the league, it is very valuable to pick up as many points as possible during this period.'  United to take on Messi and co in USA as Barca reveal 2011 pre-season plansCahill is Everton's pocket assassin! How Tiny Tim heads to the topFerdinand claims win over Arsenal has given United the edge in title raceMANCHESTER UNITED FC


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