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26/03/2009 13:11, Report by A Bostock, N Judd, G Thompson
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Experts analyse Reds' run-in

The international break may be upon us but every United fan will still be focused on the Reds with two massive months in prospect.

We asked three experts to analyse the road ahead: season-ticket holder and songster Pete Boyle (PB), Sunday Times journalist Jonathan Northcroft (JN) and former player David May (DM). Here are their views; why not post yours on manutd.com/talkingreds...

What should United's approach be after the international break?
PB: The boss has to tell his players they haven't become a bad team overnight - Liverpool might have the momentum but they know they’re relying on us slipping up. We need to beat Villa to get the Liverpool defeat out of our system. I was a bit gutted to see Brad Friedel’s red card rescinded; he always has the game of his life against us. The key thing is to play our best XI - we have a big enough squad to cope but we also need consistency.
DM: We have to put on a display against Villa that tells the rest of the Premier League that this was just a blip. I remember in 1996/97, we were beaten 6-3 at Southampton and 5-0 at Newcastle back to back. Everybody thought we were in crisis then and it's similar now after Liverpool and Fulham. We need to do ourselves proud against Villa and Porto.
JN: I don’t think there’s any reason for Sir Alex to change the approach he’s had in recent seasons. He'll pick specific sides to play certain teams. The Porto game may have been the priority a couple of weeks ago, but now it's Villa and I’m sure he’ll pick his strongest XI.

Who will be United's most important player in the final two months?
PB: Ronaldo. He’s had two exceptional seasons and we need him to stand tall again at this stage. Eric Cantona won us a lot of games 1-0 in 1996 and Ronaldo had a habit of doing that in the last two seasons. Whoever does it, whether it’s Berbatov, Rooney or Tevez, they could become a hero, but you’d expect it to come from Ronaldo.
DM: It's an old cliche but it’s time now for everyone to stand up and be counted. The last thing we want to do now after what has been a fantastic season so far is to give it all away to Liverpool in the last nine games. If there is a key to the rest of the season, then it's to get back the solid foundation in defence. That gives us something to build on.
JN: Michael Carrick. Probably the most under-rated player at Old Trafford, if not in English football, he’s been one of United’s

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