Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson eyeing the treble

Sir Alex Ferguson is targeting a repeat of United's 1999 treble

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Sir Alex Ferguson has called on his Manchester United players to step up their quest for the treble.

Ferguson's team are already 12 points clear in the Premier League and in a strong position in the Champions League following their 1-1 draw in the first leg of their tie with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

They face Reading in the FA Cup on Monday night and victory would set up a quarter-final clash with either Chelsea or Middlesbrough.

Therefore the prospect of a repeat of that historic 1999 campaign is beginning to get clearer. And whilst in public Ferguson is sticking to the mantra of one game at a time, behind closed doors he has left his players in no doubt what they are capable of.

"The manager has stressed that he expects to go to the end in all three competitions," said defender Chris Smalling.

"The manager has stressed that he expects to go to the end in all three competitions."

Chris Smalling

"The FA Cup is notoriously unpredictable. Luton reached the fifth round this year, which shows that anything can happen so there is no point looking too far ahead.

"But our home form has been good and another victory can give us the impetus to kick on and get to another final."

United's last final appearance was in 2007, the first to be played at the new Wembley, when they were beaten in extra time by Chelsea.

It means they have not won the competition since defeating Championship outfit Millwall in 2004, which came as a surprise to Smalling.

"I was quite shocked at how long it has been since United won the FA Cup," said Smalling. "It is a massive competition and one we all look forward to.

"Before we played West Ham in the third round, the manager stressed how much we wanted to win this tournament.

"There are quite a lot of lads who haven't won it despite being here for quite a while."