Giggs sees Nasri as player to fear

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The Independent Online

Ryan Giggs declared last night that Manchester United's undefeated record deserves greater recognition, as the side enter a pivotal week seeking to extend it to half a season.

"People have not given us the respect we think we deserve and that [disrespect for the record] is probably down to the manner of the results," Giggs said. "We are proud of the unbeaten record and we want to keep it for as long as we can. Some of the draws have been frustrating. We have thrown away games that we should be winning and we have ended up drawing. But we have come back in games and dug results out."

Arsenal may justifiably argue that Patrice Evra's comments about them last week constitute a far greater form of disrespect, though Giggs has admitted that Samir Nasri is the prime threat as Arsène Wenger's top-placed side arrive at Old Trafford tonight a point ahead of United. "He has probably been one of the best players in the Premier League this season," Giggs said. "He has got balance and speed, can play on either wing or off the front. He is really versatile and has scored some great goals as well. He really seems to have come of age this year."

Sir Alex Ferguson announces in tonight's programme that he has learned to put aside the post-match frustrations which follow defeat in the course of explaining his recent rapprochement with Wenger, who now regularly joins him in his office where in the past he had declined. "We have all got the same problems, pressures and self-interests," Ferguson said. "And once the heat of battle has cooled it can only be good for us to acknowledge those aspects that we do have in common, whether it's over a glass of wine or a cup of tea. When he first came to England Arsène didn't totally embrace the tradition but I am happy to say that he regularly comes into my office for a glass of wine after a match. My anger now subsides once the dressing room door has closed after speaking to my players. I have said my piece and then it's over. In the past my frustration and irritation on occasions probably simmered for a few days but age helps you to mellow and that's the right way."

Ferguson, who has Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes battling for fitness, has again pleaded with his club's supporters not to subject Wenger to the paedophile taunts which have become such a source of shame to United. "I make a special appeal to that small section of our fans who seem to get some perverse pleasure from taunting Wenger with some crude personal abuse," said Ferguson.

"He deserves better, much better. Let's do our rivalry firstly out on the pitch through our players and then off the field through our fans with massive support. That's the way ahead for a club like Manchester United as we mount a championship campaign to match our progress in Europe."

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