Advocaat up against best boss 'in the world'

The Zenit St Petersburg manager Dick Advocaat has hailed Sir Alex Ferguson as the best manager in the world.

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The Zenit St Petersburg manager Dick Advocaat has hailed Sir Alex Ferguson as the best manager in the world. The Russian champions face Manchester United in the Uefa Super Cup in Monaco tonight, where Advocaat will come up against the Old Trafford boss Ferguson for the first time. Zenit are in Monaco courtesy of their Uefa Cup final win over Advocaat's former side Rangers in Manchester last season, while the Red Devils' Champions League victory over Chelsea in Moscow was Ferguson's second triumph in the competition.

It represented yet another landmark in a trophy-filled career. Advocaat insisted that Ferguson's record, and ability, transcends Europe. "He's not just the top manager in Europe, he's top of the world," he said. "You can't work at that level and stay with one club for so long if you do not have exceptional qualities, it is so difficult. "So, for me, he is the best manager in the world and the one everyone else has to look up to.

"I know Sir Alex but I haven't played against him, so I am looking forward to the game which I know will be very difficult." Advocaat confirmed unsettled striker Andrei Arshavin, who has been continually linked with Tottenham, has travelled with the Zenit squad along with new signing Danni, who joined from Dinamo Moscow for a Russian record fee of 30 million euros. Advocaat, however, was reluctant to discuss Arshavin's chances of playing in the prestige match.

"He is with us but I will see if he plays or not, I have not yet made up my mind," he said. But the Zenit boss did confirm that the striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, who missed Euro 2008 because of knee problems, will feature against the English and European champions. The United midfielder Darren Fletcher has warned Europe's Champions League hopefuls that Russian sides will be challenging for the trophy this season.

"Zenit will fancy themselves to do really well in the Champions League this season," he said. "They beat some top teams in the Uefa Cup last season so they are no mugs. "There is also a lot of money in the Russian game. People generally don't realise how strong a league it is. "A lot of teams struggle when they go out to Russia, so that gives them a big advantage as well." * PA Sport