Ferdinand: Double won't satisfy hunger
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Rio Ferdinand has warned Manchester United's rivals he will not be satisfied even if the Red Devils go on to complete their second Premier League-UEFA Champions League double in four years.

Should Manchester United finish off Schalke at Old Trafford next week, a place in the Champions League final at Wembley against either Real Madrid or Barcelona awaits on 28 May. Before this however, United will hope to have wrapped up a record 19th league championship. For Ferdinand personally, it would be his fifth such triumph since arriving at Old Trafford for a then club record £29.1m in 2002.

It would be more than England team-mates John Terry and Frank Lampard have managed and would put him alongside legendary figures such as Graeme Souness. But would Ferdinand be happy with that? Not a chance.

Craving silver
"If I finish in two years' time with what I have now, I wouldn't be satisfied. No chance. I would be having nightmares," he said. "There is so much to be won. If we didn't win the league this year I would be devastated.

"I want to win the league this year, next year and every year I am playing. This is our fourth Champions League semi-final in five years. And we have only won it once. There is a lot of disappointment in those four years."

For all the glory they have enjoyed down the years, it could be argued this present five-year spell is the best era United have ever had. At no other point have they been able to combine domestic supremacy with sustained European success.

If I finish in two years' time with what I have now, I wouldn't be satisfied. No chance. I would be having nightmares.
Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United defender

It is a quite phenomenal achievement, made all the more remarkable given that this present team have been written off by so many people so often this season. "It is wishful thinking on a lot of people's behalf," laughed Ferdinand. "People want us to lose because we have won the league three out of the last four years and they probably want to see a little bit of variation.

"But they can have those opinions and keep talking like that. We just try to win games. If we win games and end up winning titles we won't be thinking about what people have said about us."

There is a lot of head scratching even now about how United have ended up in this situation, having been often criticised for playing below their potential this season. "What sets us apart from other teams is that the hunger never dies," said Ferdinand. "It stems from the manager and filters down through the squad.

"We have players in this squad who want to win things. There are still players in this squad who have not won the league. There are others who have won it a few times who want more. That is the basis on which we do our work every single day."

Sublime at Schalke
Even yesterday, there was a temptation not to give United their due rewards for a performance, to concentrate on the individual brilliance of Manuel Neuer and the collective failure of the Schalke outfield players to offer their goalkeeper any kind of protection. Ferdinand believes such an assessment is unfair.

"There are not many teams in the world that could have dealt with us in the first half," he said. "We had people going long, we had people going short and dictating the play. We were snappy in the tackle and picking up second balls. If you are playing like that you are going to be a handful for anyone.

"We took the game by the scruff of the neck from minute one and the only sense of frustration was at half-time, when we still had not scored. In the end, we got there but it wasn't down to whether they froze. Our attacking play would have opened up anyone in the world."