Last updated : 03 January 2003 By Editor
Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric on George Best who he wants as some sort of coach at Portsmouth. The two met when Best played for Mandaric's San Jose Earthquakes in the US soccer league in the early 1980s - the Yugoslav-born businessman was one of the founding members of North American Soccer League in the 1970s:

"George Best will be at the game and he will be my guest. The only thing I don't know is where his loyalties will lie.

"We're still waiting for George to recuperate and get back to normal activities. Then we will sit down together and see where George can contribute and where we can benefit from each other.

"Everyone, all the players, are really excited by the game. There is no bigger giant in football than Manchester United. It's a huge thrill.

"We had our objectives and goals before this game, and we will have them after the game regardless of the result.

"It is just another game which just happens to be our biggest game. Financially it will help. We still need to bring in a couple of players.

"Obviously promotion to the Premiership is our main aim and we must stay focused on that.

“Playing Manchester United in the FA Cup gives our club prestige but our main objective has to be promotion to the Premiership so we can play Manchester United twice next season.”

Portsmouth skipper Paul Merson:

“We’ve done very well so far but it is important to come off on Saturday having given a good show and not having been battered.

“At Arsenal we had a very good team and then went to AC Milan and got hammered. It was 2-0 and it could have been any score.

“We came off thinking `that's good' and it gives you the determination to strive to emulate that sort of quality.

“It can be the same on Saturday. If we lose and get well beaten, it can either kill confidence or can evoke the response `I want to be like that'.

“Hopefully the players will come off saying 'that's how good I want to be'. After all, it is the yardstick of all yardsticks.

“But it will be the first game this season where we've got nothing to lose. Since day one this season we've been expected to win all the time.

“Arsenal may currently be the best team in the country but Manchester United's record speaks for itself and they've been doing the business and winning trophies for the past 10 years.

“To be honest every year now is not far off being like the Scottish League which is dominated by two clubs.

“You have teams like Newcastle who did fantastically well last season and are doing well again this season. But when push comes to shove, it's Manchester United and Arsenal almost every time.

“It will be a great money-spinner for the club and in terms of the revenue it will be like playing three football matches at once. Our main goal is to get promoted but the amount of money that the club will pick up cannot be sneezed at.”