EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

"We can't perform like we did last week if we want to win trophies. We should have won against Arsenal earlier in the season. This is a chance to put it right."

- Rio Ferdinand
15/02/2008 09:47, Report by Ben Hibbs
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Rio: We must deliver

The Reds were uncharacteristically off colour against Manchester City in the league last weekend.

But with an FA Cup fifth round tie against Arsenal on Saturday and Wednesday's Champions League last 16 clash in Lyon, Rio Ferdinand tells ManUtd.com that the real United must stand up...

After defeat in the derby last weekend, is this a good time to be playing Arsenal?
We can't perform like we did last week if we want to win trophies, and we want to win the FA Cup. These are always great games so you look forward to them. United-Arsenal matches are tight and there will be a lot of eyes around the world on this match. If we want to win the FA Cup we have to beat top teams. This is a chance to beat one of the best teams around and get one of our rivals to win the competition out of the way. We want to win the FA Cup and the chances are we’d have to beat Arsenal to do that, so that’s what we’re looking to do today.

With Arsenal today and Lyon away on Wednesday it’s an important week…
That’s the way I like it, with games coming thick and fast. All right, sometimes it’s hard to recover physically, but when matches come Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday the enjoyment factor is there. You're always up for the next test. You don’t have time to sit and stew on a defeat or an individual mistake.

Wayne Rooney should be back on Saturday. The stats measure almost three goals per game with him in the side, and one per game without him…
We all know about Wayne’s quality as a player, and one of the most crucial things is that he brings an energy to the team. We need to have him in the side, but I think those statistics are skewed slightly because when Wazza hasn’t been playing we haven’t had Louis Saha to come in. If Louis was fit then we’d have someone to run in behind defenders and those statistics would probably be different. So we’re unfortunate in that sense. Louis is getting close to full fitness now, and Wayne is back, so hopefully they can both give us that final push in the last part of the season.

Do you see this game as simply an FA Cup fifth round tie or as a match with wider implications for the title-race?
I think it’s just

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