MANCHESTER: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is preparing to pit his wits against another product of the Old Trafford training ground in the shape of Blackburn Rovers boss Mark Hughes.

Hughes spent seven years as a player under Ferguson and is now forging a good reputation as a manager, firstly with the Wales national side and for the last three years as the driving force behind Blackburn’s re-emergence as a Premier League force.

“I think good teams reflect their manager and I think that you see Mark Hughes in Blackburn a lot of the time,” Ferguson told reporters on Friday, two days before his side host Blackburn in a league match.

“He was a determined player. When he was on that football field he became a warrior. “He has aggression and determination. I think I had that too. I think’s it’s a great quality.”

Hughes is one of three Premier League managers who were signed by Ferguson and is leading that private battle with Birmingham City’s Steve Bruce and Sunderland’s Roy Keane.

“They all have their periods of success and that’s what management is. You go through the bad periods and you go through the good periods,” Ferguson added. “You know you are never going to get in right every week and you are not going to win every game. “That’s the thing about management. You have to go through these periods and I think they are all doing well. “There are 13 players managing at the moment who are former United players and I could look through them all and see the same similarities of why they are successful.”

Joint league leader United faces Blackburn at Old Trafford on Sunday after taking its goal tally to 22 in six games with Wednesday night’s Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev.

Sixth-placed Blackburn is in good form, having won four of its last five league games and already this season it has held Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool to draws. — Agencies

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