Rio Ferdinand urges Man United teammates to seal Last 16 berth today
Defender wants English giants to qualify for Champions League knockout stages soon and shift focus on EPL title race
Rio Ferdinand wants Manchester United to book their place in the Champions League’s knock-out stages by beating Bayer Leverkusen away today so they can focus on the Premier League.
United slipped to a disappointing 2-2 draw at Premier League new-boys Cardiff City on Sunday which left them sixth in the table and seven points adrift of leaders Arsenal.
David Moyes’ side are unbeaten in their last ten matches but the Cardiff draw cost them a top four place in the Premier League.
Now Ferdinand wants United to win at Leverkusen’s BayArena to confirm their progression in Europe, so they can return their focus on the Premier League until next year’s knock-out stages.
“We want to finish the job, get it done early so we can get back to the Premier League and have nothing else distracting us,” said Ferdinand.
“They’re a well-equipped team and it’s not going to be easy but we’re more than capable.”
“We’ve got a really important game coming up on Wednesday and we know we need to get our heads up and make sure that we qualify,” said United midfielder Tom Cleverley.
“It’s good we’ve got that game because you want to try and get a rhythm going and bounce back from a disappointing result. Wednesday can’t come quick enough for us.”
Dutch striker Robin van Persie (groin) and Nemanja Vidic (concussion) are both hoping to feature in Leverkusen after missing the Cardiff match.
Rafael da Silva (ankle), Shinji Kagawa (bruised foot) and Phil Jones (abductor) are all rated doubtful, while Michael Carrick is definitely out with an Achilles
Since losing 2-4 at Old Trafford in September in their opening match, Leverkusen have picked up seven points from their three games with home victories over Real Sociedad and Shakhtar Donetsk. Bayer will be without Germany winger Sidney Sam.