Van der Sar: Ferguson will lead United to derby success
April 30, 2012 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
- Former Manchester United goalkeeper says Alex Ferguson will have a key role in derby
- Edwin van der Sar is hoping for a 1-1 draw between rivals Man United and Man City
- The 41-year-old believes Manchester derby has grown in importance in last year
- Defending champions United hold three-point lead ahead of game at City's home ground
(CNN) -- The experience of Alex Ferguson could be the key to Monday's potentially title-deciding Manchester derby, according to one of the veteran manager's former stalwarts Edwin van der Sar.
The Dutchman retired last year after Manchester United claimed a record 19th English championship, but that reign appeared to be over earlier this season as big-spending Manchester City took pole position under the guidance of Roberto Mancini.
A form slump allowed United to move eight points clear at the top -- but that has been cut to three with three games to play ahead of the clash at City's Etihad Stadium.
Ferguson is the most successful British manager of the modern era, having won 12 Premier League titles and two European Champions League crowns in more than quarter of a century at Old Trafford.
U.S. focused on England's biggest game
"He will be right up for it. He's had challenges over the last 26 years against various teams and he beat them, he got down to them and he diminished them and he's going to do the same with City," Van der Sar told CNN.
Ferguson on United title hopes
Pep Guardiola has been on a year-long sabbatical in the U.S. after stepping down as Barcelona coach, but he returned to Europe in January for the Ballon d'Or when he was shortlisted for FIFA's world coach of the year award.
The end of an era: Josep Guardiola
"He's going to motivate the players because it's a massive moment to win the Barclays Premier League. He's going to do it the same way he always does -- of course there are going to be remarks about, 'You have to win otherwise you're not going to show your face for the next two months in Manchester,' all that kind of thing. But in general it's all about tactics."
Mancini guided City to the club's first silverware since 1976 with success in the FA Cup last season, but it has been 44 years since a league title was celebrated by the blue half of Manchester.
"They've both got strikers on good form -- Sergio Aguero scored a lot of goals, Wayne Rooney scored a lot of goals," said Van der Sar, who played for United for six seasons.
"I think City has slightly a better defensive record. But I think the midfield is going to be the place where it's going to be decided.
"Hopefully my old teammates are up for it, can withstand the pressure."
The 41-year-old revealed he was hoping for a draw, which would leave United in the box seat ahead of final games at home to Swansea and away to Sunderland. City must next travel to Champions League-chasing Newcastle and relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers.
"My heart is right, of course you want a win for United, and a draw would be fine also. So let's go for a draw, a 1-1 or something to decide who's going to win the Barclays Premiership. That would be great," he said.
Van der Sar is one of the few footballers to have won the Champions League with two different teams -- helping deliver Ajax the title in 1995 and repeating the feat with United in 2008.
The man named UEFA Best European Goalkeeper in 1995 and 2009 said that the Manchester derby had grown in importance in the last year along with City's fortunes.
"I remember when I came here and played a game and even lost during one of the seasons -- we lost both games -- but still ended up winning the league. They were still so happy that they won from us, even though we ended up winning the league so it didn't really matter that much," he said.
Part of complete coverage on
NN World Sport examines why racism continues to be a problem in football and what is being done to tackle discrimination.
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1207 GMT (2007 HKT)
Germany's Under-21s may bowed out of the European Championship Finals in Israel this week, but their experiences left a lasting impression.
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
CNN's James Masters has had a close look at the next generation of European football stars at the U21 championship in Israel.
June 6, 2013 -- Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT)
A former Palestinian player, once held without charge for three years, is campaigning for a boycott of Israel's staging of a major European tournament.
May 23, 2013 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
When Germany's two biggest soccer clubs go head-to-head in the Champions League final, there can only be one winner: German industry.
May 22, 2013 -- Updated 1356 GMT (2156 HKT)
The Bundesliga model of sustainability is very much in vogue. But are Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund creating a dangerous duopoly?
May 23, 2013 -- Updated 1015 GMT (1815 HKT)
CNN takes an exclusive look at the venue of the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
May 17, 2013 -- Updated 1710 GMT (0110 HKT)
David Beckham embraced his tag as a "gay icon" and has been credited with breaking the big taboo -- homosexuality in football.
May 13, 2013 -- Updated 0750 GMT (1550 HKT)
'King' Alex Ferguson is quitting Manchester United but the $3.17 billion brand will survive, according to experts.
May 7, 2013 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
Italian football lags behind its other European rivals commercially, but newly-crowned Italian champions Juventus is showing Serie A clubs an example of revival.
April 24, 2013 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Luis Suarez's biting of Branislav Ivanovic is the latest episode of moments of madness when soccer stars behave badly.
March 29, 2013 -- Updated 0938 GMT (1738 HKT)
Sunderland's partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation is part of its bid to woo the African market.
March 28, 2013 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Each year as many as 700 Cameroonian young footballers leave Africa in search of a professional career abroad.
May 6, 2013 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Referees across Europe are feeling the heat. Insulted, threatened, chased off the field, attacked, hospitalized and, tragically, killed.
February 26, 2013 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Footballers have a battery of physios, fitness trainers and doctors all striving to fine-tune their physique -- but are they missing a trick?
February 26, 2013 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
No Englishman has won the EPL title in over 20 years, while a leading manager reveals that English coaches are now "not respected abroad."
June 10, 2013 -- Updated 1041 GMT (1841 HKT)
Hardcore Italian football "ultra" Federico is a Lazio supporter who happily admits directing monkey chants at black players.
March 5, 2013 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
When Jupp Heynckes made his Bundesliga debut as a player in 1965, the name of Bayern Munich was a new one for the nascent German league.
February 19, 2013 -- Updated 1902 GMT (0302 HKT)
Football's world governing body FIFA has confirmed it will use goal-line technology at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
February 19, 2013 -- Updated 1403 GMT (2203 HKT)
Match-fixing has become a worldwide issue, with hundreds of matches under investigation -- but how do you actually fix a football game?
February 11, 2013 -- Updated 2231 GMT (0631 HKT)
The wealth of owners like Chelsea's Roman Abramovich often fuels success, but for other clubs such backers prove a mixed blessing.
January 30, 2013 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
The Secret Footballer reveals the complex issues surrounding racism in the English Premier League.
Today's five most popular stories