Alex Ferguson labels Manchester United's match against Norwich 'mundane'

United play Norwich this weekend before taking on Real Madrid in the Champions League

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The Independent Football

Manchester United could be excused for having one eye on next Tuesday when they will host Real Madrid in a glamour Champions League tie.

Yet before Cristiano Ronaldo and his famous team-mates arrive in Manchester from Madrid in a game that Jose Mourinho described as "the one the world is waiting for", United must welcome the likes of Grant Holt and Anthony Pilkington of Norwich to the Theatre of Dreams.

Speaking today ahead of Saturday's match, Ferguson recognised the significance of the Norwich game, with a victory pushing United 15 points clear of Manchester City who do not play until Monday.

However, Ferguson may have risked offending Chris Hughton and his team, referring to the Premier League fixture as "mundane".

"Tomorrow is an important one because Tuesday will look after itself," he said. "It's an occasion on Tuesday whereas tomorrow is the mundane practical situation in that we need to win."

United will be boosted by the return of top scorer Robin van Persie who has recovered from a hip injury sustained in the 2-0 win over QPR.

"Robin van Persie has trained this week - he's available for tomorrow. His hip was very tender but he's OK now," manager Alex Ferguson told the news conference.

Defender Phil Jones will not be available for Saturday's league game because of an ankle injury but could return for Tuesday's  last 16 second leg at home to Real Madrid.

Wayne Rooney is also expected to play a leading role in tomorrow's game as Ferguson looks to get the striker back to full fitness for Real Madrid.