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Ferguson chasing top spot

MANCHESTER UNITED will roll out the big guns against Benfica tonight in a bid to smooth their passage into the latter stages of the Champions League.

Alex Ferguson's men take on the Lisbon side at Old Trafford with history very much on their side. United have never lost at home to Portuguese opposition in ten attempts.

But Ferguson will resist the temptation to rest players in tonight's key game. United’s main aim is to qualify for the knockout stages as group winners, which would allow them steer clear of the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the next phase.

And that means a starting role for key players like Wayne Rooney. The striker missed training yesterday, but is poised to start, despite reports that United could use the game to try out youngsters like the controversial teen Ravel Morrison.

“Tonight's match is poised, with the winner moving into pole position to win our group and avoid the big guns,” Ferguson said.

“The quality of the teams doesn't make a great difference but it can make a little difference. The main advantage is that the second leg would be at Old Trafford.”