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Leeds was 'like a scene from Zulu'

Alex Ferguson said the sight of the Manchester United team hotel besieged by Leeds fans was "like something out of 'Zulu'", writes Tim Rich.

Should they play at Elland Road again, United will not be using a city centre hotel as they did before Tuesday night's Carling Cup win, which was marred by 24 arrests.

While Leeds supporters indulged in their familiar tasteless reference to the Munich disaster, there was one banner in the away end that read "Istanbul", a reference to the two Yorkshire fans killed before a Champions League fixture with Galatasaray in 2000.

Ferguson said the atmosphere around the team hotel before kick-off was "frightening".

"We had a lot of problems outside the hotel," he said. "I don't know how many hundreds of them there were. It was like something out of the film 'Zulu'. We have never had anything like that before because we have never stayed in the centre of Leeds. Next time we'll stay in Glasgow and get a helicopter down."

Unlike the fixtures with Liverpool, which he has always treated as derbies, Ferguson has never come to terms with why games with Leeds inspire such hatred.

"Liverpool-Manchester United games have always been fierce and sometimes supporters can play a bad part in that, but it never reaches the levels of Leeds. It was frightening."

United's start to the campaign -- five straight wins, 21 goals scored -- may have surprised even themselves. Should they win at Stoke, it will be the club's best start to a season under Ferguson. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent