Van der Sar plays down FA Cup quest

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Edwin van der Sar is refusing to get carried away by the prospect of completing his Manchester United medal collection in his final season at Old Trafford.

The 40-year-old has confirmed his intention to retire this summer and snub repeated attempts to change his mind by the men he shares a dressing room with. And Friday's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City holds particular significance to the Dutchman as a winners' medal in the FA Cup is the only one missing from Van der Sar's time with the club.

Ever the realist, it is not something the veteran Dutchman has spent any time dwelling on and said: "An FA Cup medal is missing from my collection but I am not going into the game more focused or tense because of that. At the end of the game there is no medal or honour. It is just a semi-final."

United had lost to Chelsea at Wembley on their last FA Cup final appearance four years ago and van der Sar shares his team's yearning to atone for that loss by winning the tournament this time.

He said: "Obviously, it would be a great achievement to reach the final and give ourselves a chance of winning the tournament but at the moment I am not that bothered."


Van der Sar is expected to keep his place at Wembley on Saturday, having made his first appearance in this season's competition during the quarter-final victory over Arsenal last month. He is expecting a fairly raucous atmosphere from a capacity 90,000 crowd. And he accepts City pose a far more formidable threat that when he first moved north from Fulham in the summer of 2005.

"The derby has always been good," he said. "But it is a little bit more emphasised now because of the money that City have been spending in the last few years and the quality players they are bringing in.

"Maybe for them, the game is not played with the heart quite so much and more with their quality players. We have plenty of them as well though and hopefully they can make a difference for our team as they have done in the last couple of games."

United have lost just one of their last eight meetings with City and even that loss turned into a victory thanks to a second-leg triumph in the Carling Cup semi-final.

It is a superiority the Red Devils are keen to confirm at Wembley and one that emerges through triumphs of past seasons.

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Edwin Van der Sar
League Cup
Premier League
Manchester United
FA Cup

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