Date: 25th February 2006 at 11:59am
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Sir Alex Ferguson says you only enjoy a cup final AFTER the event … and only if you win in it!

The Manchester United boss goes to Cardiff knowing Wigan can get away with the plaudits regardless if they win the Carling Cup or not. But defeat for the Red Devils is unthinkable.

Ferguson: ‘When you lose a final, it hurts deeply. It is sickening. You can see it in the faces of the players afterwards and I don’t want to experience that this weekend.

‘I always say the only way you can enjoy a cup final is by winning it but we will have to perform.

‘You have to take winning one trophy – no matter what it is – as a successful season, purely because of the competition we face nowadays. There was a cynicism about the League Cup but it was only created because of the demands of Europe.

‘Before the Champions League started, most clubs had a go for the League Cup but once the group stages started in the Champions League, it was very difficult for the top clubs to play their strongest teams.

‘But the people running the League Cup had a rethink, they allowed teams in Europe to come in one round later and because of that, the bigger teams are getting to the final again.’