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HUGHTON'S NOTES

Posted on 8 September 2006  - 12:00

Chris Hughton gives us his regular assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, United at Old Trafford.

Chris Hughton gives us his regular assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, United at Old Trafford.

FIRST of all, you know what you are facing at Old Trafford. Its probably the biggest stage in the country and a daunting place to go and play “ but a place where nevertheless you want to go and play. And well go there with confidence.

Looking at United, Rooney and Scholes are out and that means Saha will almost certainly play. It says a lot about him that on the back of Van Nistelrooy leaving after all his wonderful goalscoring exploits, United were confident enough in Saha not to bring anyone else in.

We were always aware what a good player he is but his United career has been up and down in terms of injuries. He was a very, very good player at Fulham and he is certainly now showing the quality he has.

We cant be sure how they will start up front. At Charlton they played Giggs off the front and he can play in any one of two or three positions. There is the small point of Solskjaer coming back as well. The fact that they havent bought a major player in up front shows they are confident in what theyve got and Solskjaer is back, fit and scoring goals.

Im sure it will be strange for the lads up against Michael Carrick, especially as its so early in the season and he was so popular here not just amongst the players but staff as well. There has always been talk of United replacing Roy Keane in midfield and the answer to that is you cant replace him, he was that good and specific a player. What you can do is play different types of player and Michael is top quality.

If Giggs doesnt play off the front, its generally him and Ronaldo in the wide areas with Darren Fletcher as well, hes done well for them. He scored at Charlton and has matured, you have to praise United for his development. Hes a good passer, can get box to box and played well for Scotland this week.

Were assuming Rio Ferdinand will be okay and they have options defensively “ Silvestre can play centrally or left-back, at right-back theyve Brown or Neville if hes fit and Van der Sar as well, hes so highly thought of.

In the last couple of seasons weve put in good displays at Old Trafford and we will go there confident of performing well again.