Carrick - Rio presence is vital

United midfielder happy team-mate is fit to face Arsenal

Carrick: Praise for Ferdinand

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Michael Carrick is hoping the presence of Rio Ferdinand will 'make a difference' when Manchester United meet Arsenal in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Ferdinand suffered a bruised lung during the latter stages of last week's 1-0 win in the first leg at Old Trafford after being knocked over by team-mate Edwin van der Sar.

The United centre-half had an overnight stay in hospital after coughing up blood and sat out Saturday's Premier League victory at Middlesbrough.

However, Ferdinand has been passed fit for Tuesday's game at Emirates Stadium and Carrick is happy the England international will be involved.

"Rio has grown," said Carrick.

"He has the experience of playing at the top level for a number of years.

"Only certain players in the squad have the presence he has. It makes a difference when he is there."


United have conceded just once in five away games in the Champions League this season and United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping for another strong defensive showing against the Gunners.

"It is a different game nowadays," reflected Ferguson.

"You must have a far better concentration in defence now, as we did in Porto.

"We need that kind of performance again tomorrow night.

"We are capable of it. When my defenders really concentrate and when they are really ready for the big games they are usually very good."