Man United will be Red hot regardless, says Sunderland boss

Manchester United's Danny Welbeck

Manchester United's Danny Welbeck

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MARTIN O’Neill has dismissed the suggestion that Manchester United will be less formidable opponents this weekend because they’ll have one eye on their FA Cup quarter-final replay against Chelsea on Monday night.

There has been speculation that Sir Alex Ferguson might field a weakened side against Sunderland this Saturday, given that United have such a big lead at the top of the Premier League.

But O’Neill said: “It won’t matter if they do, because of all the sides around, Man United are probably the best set to deal with a rush of fixtures.

“They have the squad to cope with that sort of challenge and that’s why, despite being involved in so many competitions this season, they are still 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

“They manage it well when they have these sort of periods of the season.”

O’Neill is more concerned about well his side play this weekend, rather than how United might perform.

He said: “We need to get points on the board.

“It’s important to keep that total ticking over and that’s why our recent performance against Norwich at the Stadium of Light was not up to what we would have expected - especially against 10 men.

“So we have to get that out of our system by having a real go at it this weekend.

“We have great games coming up and we now have to play them with real intensity and determination.

“The idea is for us to play those games without nerves.

“There’s always a degree of nerves and tensions in any match, not just the big matches, but you have to use that positiively.

“Football is always about character and showing fight and that’s what we have to do this weekend.”