Chelsea not Manchester United’s biggest game, says Rio Ferdinand

With the champions set to welcome Jose Mourinho’s charges to Old Trafford on Monday, the defender feels clashes with Manchester City and Liverpool are more important

Rio Ferdinand has played down rivalry between Manchester United and Chelsea, insisting games against Liverpool and Manchester City are bigger.

United take on Chelsea at Old Trafford in David Moyes’ first home Premier League match on Monday after getting their title defence off to a fine start with a 4-1 win at Swansea last week.

However, Ferdinand – who hit out at Jose Mourinho’s recent claim United were not impressive champions – does not attach the same importance to facing the Blues as he does with those led by their more traditional rivals.

“I wouldn’t say [playing Chelsea] was one of my favourites,” Ferdinand said at United’s launch of a commercial partnership with Apollo Tyres.

“You look forward to playing every time you step out at Old Trafford. It is a special place to play. We all appreciate playing there in front of our home fans and we try to put on a show. I wouldn’t say we take anyone more seriously or enjoy playing against anyone more.

“The Liverpool and Manchester City games are usually hyped up a bit more than anyone else. The feeling after winning one of those games is probably the biggest of the season.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs – who faced Swansea on Saturday – is keen to get a good foothold in the league as they look to defend the title with a new manager, in David Moyes, and rivals who have strengthened over the summer.

“You want to get off to a good start,” the 39-year-old added. “It is the first Premier League home game. When Mourinho was at Chelsea they obviously got off to good starts and we didn’t manage to catch them.

“It has been well documented that we have a tough start. We got a good win at Swansea on Saturday and hopefully we can carry that on.”

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