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Scholes calls for calm from United
Published : 01 May 2010 15:14:00
Paul Scholes has called for cool heads at Manchester United as the Premier League title race reaches crunch time. Scholes remembers Upton Park 1995 very well - which is why he knows United must ensure they are in the right frame of mind to do their own jobs on Sunday rather than worry about Liverpool's approach to their clash with Chelsea. Scholes is the only survivor from that frustrating last-day trip to West Ham 15 years ago. As with this week, the build-up had been dominated by talk about Liverpool's attitude to a home game against a Blackburn side managed by Reds legend Kenny Dalglish. Despite all the doubts, Liverpool did win. United failed. Scholes was introduced from the bench for the frantic final stages as the Red Devils, sensing the opportunity they had been presented with, went for the jugular. In the end, a draw was not enough to prevent Rovers from clinching the Premier League title. It is a reminder of why United should not get subsumed in what Liverpool might do a couple of hours before they take the field at Sunderland. "I remember coming off the pitch at West Ham," said Scholes. "It was a similar situation I suppose. Everyone was saying Liverpool weren't going to try and they would let Blackburn win. "Liverpool ended up winning and we didn't manage to do our job. "Hopefully the results are different this weekend." Having just signed a one-year contract extension, Scholes has been proving exactly why Sir Alex Ferguson has so much faith in him. Quite apart from that last-gasp winner at Manchester City, the 35-year-old has been exuding a calmness in the most tense situations that only experience can bring. Should United finish the campaign on top, Scholes would be collecting his 10th title this season, a number only Ryan Giggs can surpass. Given the importance of the fixture, Scholes is almost certain to be called upon again, although he can offer no guarantees about the state of his mind this weekend. "Experience has brought a calmness so far," he smiled. "Whether we start panicking this weekend I don't know. "I am not sure how much the manager had it in his mind that he would have to call upon us. "He knows we have experienced it all before and we know what it takes. "He has his reasons for doing it. Hopefully it works." Not that Scholes is naive enough to think half an eye will not be on events at Anfield as United complete their warm-ups. The former England star has no doubts about the importance of Sunday's fixtures given Chelsea complete their Premier League programme against lowly Wigan at Stamford Bridge. "It would be easy to forget about the other game if we were playing at the same time. But with them playing earlier on we are going to know what has happened," said Scholes. "Hopefully we have a boost from there and that will kick us on. "But I do think it is probably all on this weekend "Before the Tottenham game we said if we won our three remaining matches we had a chance of winning it. "But it would be hard to peg Chelsea back with the last game they have got." As Sunderland have only lost twice at home all season, and were unfortunate not to register a victory over United at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign when a late Anton Ferdinand own goal denied them a win, Steve Bruce's men can approach the contest with a degree of confidence. Sunderland's mid-table position certainly ensures they will be relaxed, although Scholes is not convinced United have any need to be anxious. After all, there is nothing they can do until such time as Chelsea slip up. "I don't think being behind or in front changes the atmosphere but it probably helps the nerves that we are behind because there is nothing we can do," he said. "When you are ahead there is always someone trying to catch you and overtake you. When you are second the pressure is not really on. You just have to win your game and try to catch the team in front. "Hopefully they slip up. There have been many teams up there in the past and not been able to handle it. "Liverpool is probably the toughest place you can go in the league so maybe we will get the right result." Skipper Gary Neville, handed a one-year contract extension yesterday, is almost certain to miss out against Sunderland with a calf injury. Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney are more likely to play after recovering from groin injuries. "He (Neville) is more of a doubt than Rio or Wayne," Ferguson told MUTV. "I don't think Gary will make it."