Edwin van der Sar says Schalke tie is alive

Edwin van der Sar believes it would have taken a third Manchester United goal at the Veltins-Arena last night to ensure there was no need for a second leg against Schalke.

Even with a two-goal cushion, most observers cannot envisage United failing to reach their third Champions League final in four years.

Such was the magnitude of clear-cut chances the Red Devils created, it seems to be just a matter of how many they score in next week's return leg at Old Trafford.

A blockbuster clash with either nine-times winners Real Madrid or 2009 conquerors Barcelona awaits the victors.

And despite the one-sided nature of last night's game and a scoreline that points only one way, Van der Sar is refusing to take anything for granted.

"Probably people think we are at Wembley now but we cannot take anything for granted," said the veteran Dutchman.

"Yes we played great but there is no celebrating in our dressing room because it is only half-time.

"If we had scored a third goal that would have made the second game unnecessary but we have to focus on Arsenal on Sunday now."

Van der Sar will be appearing in a record 14th Champions League semi-final next week as he enters the final weeks of a stellar career.

He will do so as an integral part of a defence which managed to complete its entire away programme without conceding a goal.

Not that the former Ajax man wanted to take too much of the credit.

"Our clean sheet record is all right," he shrugged.

"The midfield played well. It is good to be behind those players."

Van der Sar was appreciative of the performance of Manuel Neuer, who has been touted as a potential replacement for the Dutchman.

It now appears Neuer is bound for Bayern Munich instead but Van der Sar said: "Neuer played really well.

"I haven't seen a lot of him because I don't get to see much of German football on TV but, according to all the reports, it is nothing new."

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