Sir Alex Ferguson will take Manchester United squad to Cardiff

Fergie orders holiday tonic to ease title tension: United to make Cardiff trip ahead of derby

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UPDATED:

21:39 GMT, 25 April 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson will take his players to Cardiff on Thursday to escape the pressure building up around their Barclays Premier League showdown with Manchester City.

Ferguson has not told his squad yet but they are set to leave early in the morning for a two-day stay at the Vale Resort, a golf and spa retreat in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Feeling the strain United conceded two late goals to draw with Everton on Sunday

Feeling the strain United conceded two late goals to draw with Everton on Sunday

Manchester United are also believed to have been given access to Cardiff City's training facilities nearby and will return on Sunday, 24 hours before facing City at the Etihad Stadium.

Ferguson organised a similar break at St Andrews before United's last Monday night game against Blackburn at the start of this month.

The Old Trafford boss felt some of his younger players were feeling the pressure and was delighted with the outcome as United won 2-0 at Ewood Park to go five points clear at the top.

Time for a break: Fergie will take his side to Cardiff ahead of Monday's clash

Time for a break: Fergie will take his side to Cardiff ahead of Monday's clash

Ferguson said: 'The little trip to St Andrews was fantastic. The players loved it. It helped with the unity of the players. When players stay together, they become a team very easily.'

United's lead is now down to three points and City will replace them at the top on goal difference if they win on Monday.

Defender Pablo Zabaleta said: 'We've never stopped believing in ourselves but, to be honest, after the Arsenal defeat I thought our chance had probably gone.

Keeping the faith: Zabaleta says City have 'everything'

Keeping the faith: Zabaleta says City have 'everything' needed to win the league

'We've been five points clear before so we know how it feels, but United losing against Wigan and dropping points at home to Everton shows you have to believe because you just never know. If we have another chance for the title it's because we deserve it. We've got talent and we've got quality – we've got everything.'

More than 600 police – an increase on recent Manchester derbies – will be on duty for a potentially highly volatile game.

With United's allocation limited to 2,600, a large number of fans are expected to gather in the city centre.

Drinking will not be permitted in the street from mid-afternoon in an exclusion zone between the city centre and the stadium, and any fans under the influence will not be allowed into the game.