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Man United aims to maintain winning preseason form

MANCHESTER United will aim to make it three wins out of three on its Asian tour when it plays FC Seoul tomorrow, in a visit designed to capitalize on the club's popularity in South Korea.

The English champion is in South Korea for the second time in three years, and in its fifth visit to the continent this decade.

The hotel bombings in Jakarta forced the club to cancel its match in Indonesia. Instead, the Premier League giant played two matches in Malaysia, winning 3-2 and then 2-0.

Over seven thousand fans watch United train at Seoul World Cup Stadium today.

The presence of local star Park Ji-sung means that United is well-followed in Korea with an estimated six million fans.

"We are delighted to be here and recognize that the fan base in Korea is something exceptional," coach Sir Alex Ferguson said.

"We had two games in Malaysia and I feel that the team is progressing the right way. The game with Seoul, with the progress the team is making, this is an ideal game for us."

Ferguson said the popularity of Park was reward for his progress to the top levels of the European game and the Korean national side.

"When a local lad like Ji-sung has left his country to play for Manchester United and excel at the highest level then it is obvious he will receive adulation at home," Ferguson said.

"He has been the star of the national team for a while too. This is a football nation and when they see Park doing well and then when he comes back, the reaction is understandable."

The Scot said the standard of the current squad and the one that beat Seoul 4-0 in 2007 was similar, although the Red Devils have lost star winger Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.

"The big difference is the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo," Ferguson said. "The fans will miss him. He is a fantastic player.

The visit of the English champions led to Seoul rearranging a K-League fixture with Gwangju Sangmu, initially scheduled for July 26.

Moving that game to May 30 led to many of FC Seoul's fans boycotting two home matches in early May.

During Seoul's last home match with Incheon United on July 12, a stadium announcement regarding the Manchester United visit was drowned out by jeers.

Despite some ill feeling, the game is a 64,000 sellout according to organizers. However local media reports there are still over 10,000 available.


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