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Sir Alex Ferguson says he is refusing to get “emotional” about the Community Shield showdown with local rivals Manchester City and intends to use the game as a warm-up for the new season.

While Sunday’s Wembley clash is being billed as a major pointer for the new campaign, Ferguson played down the significance of the encounter, insisting it was merely another chance to get his squad fit for the season proper.

“It’s very easy to get emotional about this type of game but I don’t think we’ll be changing our policy,” said Ferguson.

“I have always viewed the Community Shield as a stepping stone to the first game of the season. Maybe two or three of our players need the game on Sunday and that will not change my view in terms of how we approach the game.

“Rafael Da Silva is still recovering from the knock he got against Barcelona in America, and Javuer Hernandez will not be involved for two or three weeks.

“Considering he had concussion two or three years ago, we are playing safe with that. But he should be back by the end of August.

“There is a concern about Michael Carrick. He had a tightness in his Achilles in Edwin van der Sar’s testimonial game, and and he won’t be involved on Sunday. But it’s not a long-term thing.”

Ferguson said he expects City to make a sustained push for the title, after Roberto Mancini’s side claimed third spot last season, nine points behind champions United.

“We’ve expected that for a year or so because of that particular facet of their club [the money they have to spend],” said Ferguson.

“I think they may still sign a couple more players before the window closes. But we get this every season with the clubs around us buying players.

“That’s how clubs view the importance of winning the league these days. We had it with Chelsea a few years ago when Jose Mourinho came along, and we accepted that challenge.

“These kind of challenges are good for us, it keeps complacency away from our door and we’ll carry on as best we can.”

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