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24/11/2013 09:12,
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Ex-Red previews Cardiff clash

Former Wales international Mickey Thomas made 110 appearances during three seasons at Old Trafford; here, he previews the Reds' trip to take on Cardiff City on Sunday...

I've been in Cardiff during the past few weeks and they haven't stopped talking about Manchester United coming to town. They have passionate fans and are really up for this one. It's a huge game for them, one of the biggest of their season.

Cardiff have already proved that they can be a very difficult side to play against. Malky Mackay is doing a fine job and, on the playing side, they have good players like Craig Bellamy, who has been a thorn in United's side plenty of times before. Steven Caulker is a good signing for them, as is the lad in midfield Gary Medel. Peter Whittingham has a great left foot too, and Fraizer Campbell has been a big hit for them. That said, it'd be understandable if they were cautious because Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie look unstoppable at the moment.

United are coming back into a good run of form and a player I've been really impressed with is Antonio Valencia, who is starting to have a big impact even though people have not really been mentioning it. He is starting to get confidence back into his play and he moves the ball well, I like that.

Valencia is key; he is so important to van Persie and Rooney because he can supply the crosses in that crucial area in the box. He can play right-back as well - he's a good full-back as he's strong - but it's in the final third where I'd like to see him really take control. He has got the ability and, in his last two or three games, has looked like being back to his best with his confidence soaring. Valencia is back on track.

That's not the only important area of the team, though. The midfield is a crucial battle that we must win. Michael Carrick is out so it'll be interesting to see who plays centrally.

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