ALEX FERGUSON insists Manchester United will take tonight's Champions League tie against Galatasaray as seriously as the Turkish club's supporters after being steered clear of a flare-wielding welcoming committee on their arrival here last night.
Having experienced 'Welcome to Hell' banners on arrival at the city's Ataturk airport prior to previous encounters with Galatasaray in 1993 and 1994, United had not been expected to receive a similar reception almost two decades after their infamous encounters with the Turkish champions.
But with hundreds of Galatasaray supporters crowding the arrivals hall - some broke out into derogatory chants about Leeds United, who saw two supporters killed prior to a Champions League tie here in April 2000 - United were escorted through an alternative exit to avoid the noisy gathering.
When asked whether United had avoided the Galatasaray supporters, Ferguson said: "Yes, absolutely. We dodged it, we came underground!
"We didn't get the meeting from the fans this time, but in 1993 it was incredible and quite frightening.
"We have been here a few times now, though, and are now used to the Turkish atmosphere. It is fanatical, but it is no issue for us."
The United manager is set to hand Phil Jones (right) his first appearance of the season following the England defender's recovery from back and knee injuries. Teenage midfielder Nick Powell is also expected to start at the Turk Telekom Arena, which holds the world record for the loudest noise in a sports stadium at 131 decibels.
But while Ferguson conceded that he would make changes for the game, he insisted that, despite his team having already secured qualification and top spot in Group H, he would uphold the club's reputation for playing "fair" to those clubs vying for second spot.
"We are in a great position having qualified, but we will make sure we play with some pride and that we are fair to the other teams in group," Ferguson said. "We are making changes, but the players need games.
"We don't consider it a gamble, but we do consider our reputation and being fair to the teams in the group. It's a big day for Phil Jones because he has been out all season, but he has done enough training to make his fitness okay and I am looking forward to bringing him back.
"Apart from Nick Powell and Alex Buttner, a lot of the players have experience of this (atmosphere).
"They are experienced of playing in front of big crowds, but it's completely different for Powell. It will be his first game at this level, and his temperament will be important."
With United securing qualification for the knockout stages with two games to spare, Ferguson has left Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David De Gea, Chris Smalling and Robin van Persie in Manchester ahead of Saturday's Premier League fixture against Queens Park Rangers.
And the Scot admitted that Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa, sidelined since last October with a knee injury, was making slower-than-expected progress with his recovery.
Ferguson said: "His progress has been quite slow actually and he hasn't started any outside work and, looking now, he may be another four weeks away."
United will wear black armbands against QPR at the weekend as a mark of respect to Kenny Morgans, the Busby Babe who died this week.