Sir Alex Ferguson is hopeful Manchester United's second-half performance at Celtic on Wednesday night will pave the way for victory over Arsenal in Saturday lunch-time's Premier League blockbuster.
Although it took United 84 minutes to break down Celtic's stubborn resistance at Parkhead, their dominance after half-time fully merited a 1-1 draw.
"The result does no harm, of course," said Ferguson. "We didn't lose and the performance in the second half was the most encouraging thing. We are ready for a big game on Saturday now."
Ferguson left Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra out of his starting line-up in readiness for the crunch meeting with Arsene Wenger's out-of-form side.
And although all three were eventually introduced as United battled for a result that leaves them on the verge of a place in the last 16, the Red Devils chief ultimately felt his decision had been justified after Ryan Giggs cancelled out Scott McDonald's first-half strike.
"It's never easy picking teams with the squad we've got but I managed to rest Patrice Evra even if doing the same with Dimitar and Wayne Rooney was more difficult," he said.
"But I felt when we did bring Berbatov on and it gave them another problem.
"The positions he picks up are very difficult to pinpoint."
Unless United lose to Villarreal in three weeks' time and Aalborg beat Celtic and go on to win at Old Trafford by four goals, the Old Trafford outfit will take the defence of their trophy into 2009.
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