Manchester United look to turn up Premier League title heat at Norwich City
17:58 24 February 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung insists the Reds’ will not underestimate Norwich on Sunday as they bid to turn up the heat in the Premier League title race.
The South Korean international knows every point is priceless now entering the final straight with Sir Alex Ferguson’s men trailing neighbours City by two points ahead of this weekend’s latest fixtures.
“From now on, every match in the Premier League is important,” he said. “We have to keep pressing Manchester City. We have experienced this kind of pressure before. It is a big advantage for us that we have that kind of experience.
“That is the biggest difference between Manchester City and us and we have to see how they deal with it. Hopefully it will help us win the league.”
Park aims to finish a landmark week on a positive note at Carrow Road after surprisingly replacing Patrice Evra as skipper for the midweek Europa League defeat to Ajax at Old Trafford. The 30-year-old admitted it was a bittersweet moment after progressing to the last 16 on aggregate despite a 2-1 defeat in Manchester.
“It was a great honour to be named Manchester United captain,” he said. “It is not something I ever thought about doing, but I would have preferred the result to be better.”
United wide player Nani is ready to play a major role in the champions’ bid to retain their crown after stepping up his return from injury with a 90 minute outing against the Dutch.
The Portugal international made his comeback from a foot injury which had sidelined him for a month in the first leg against the Dutch giants.
With Antonio Valencia sidelined by a hamstring injury sustained in Amsterdam and Ashley Young also battling back to fitness after a knee injury, the 25-year-old could be a key attacking weapon.
“It has been difficult to get the consistency,” he said. “I am getting there but I need more minutes. I will work hard to come back because we need every player. Just now I am not at my best but I will try to recover my form as quickly as possible.”
Ferguson is also looking for his younger generation to blossom, with Tom Cleverley’s form in the United midfield earning him a senior England call up for next week’s friendly against Holland at Wembley.
“Tom is a very clever footballer,” said Ferguson. “He has a quick brain in terms of his appreciation of passing. Last week in Amsterdam an hour was fantastic for him after his long spell out (with injury). It is good to have him back. It gives us more ammunition in terms of the midfield area which everyone was starting to worry about some months ago.”