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Ferdinand's focus only on title

7 April 2013-PA Sport

Rio Ferdinand has no intention of getting distracted by record points hauls or winning the Premier League by the biggest margin.

Both records have been mentioned in the last couple of weeks as Manchester United pulled 15 points clear of Manchester City in the title race.

But as the two sides prepare to do battle in Monday evening's (Tuesday morning AEST) derby clash at Old Trafford, Ferdinand is intent on remaining fully focused on landing the major prize.

"It is just about winning," he said.

"If anything comes after that then great. If you win the league before the end of the season you can set other targets.

"For me personally we need to get the trophy first, then you can think of all the other stuff that goes on around it."

The game represents City's first cross-town trip since it put six past United in that never-to-be-forgotten demolition derby.

Yet Ferdinand insists that mauling is not being used as motivation in the Red Devils camp.

And neither is the pain suffered on the final day of the season, when Sergio Aguero's injury-time strike snatched the trophy away after United's season had already been concluded.

"We are not any more hungry because of what happened last season," said Ferdinand.

"This is just the way we are.

"The mentality of this club, driven by the manager, is that you have to win and you have to be challenging for every single competition you go in for.

"That has been the case since I have been here and will never change.

"This club, the manager, the management team he has behind him, and the players and the fans demand that."

Ferdinand is not prepared to say anything more controversial than a United win would put 'a big dent' in City's own hopes.

That is a massive understatement as even a Blues win would need to be followed by four more favours from Premier League rivals to open the door.

It seems impossible. Yet the mantra from Old Trafford remains the same.

"Each game will take its own course," said Ferdinand.

"This one will do the same.

"Everything gets put aside in a derby game. We have to make sure we put pressure on them, make sure they know they have been in a really tough game and will be disappointed at the end because we have won."

For all the disappointment of an FA Cup exit at Chelsea, a run of six successive Premier League clean sheets has given United a solidity missing from so many of its early season performances.

It is one Ferdinand is happy to embrace, even if it comes at the cost of some element of excitement.

"At the beginning of the season we were playing open, expansive football, which I am sure was good for the fans to watch," he said.

"But, being a defender, my first instinct is to defend and keep clean sheets and we weren't able to do that.

"We addressed it. That is the most pleasing point. And now we are benefiting from it.

"If you are going to win titles you have to be able to win in a lot of different ways.

"You have to be able to win ugly and by playing great fluid football.

"More often than not, it is the teams who can do that who will win the league."

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