Monday, 25 April 2011

Alex Ferguson has admitted he still gets envious when he compares Manchester United's

Sir Alex admits to European envy
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he still gets envious when he compares Manchester United's European record to that of the continent's other heavyweights.
United head into their 12th semi-final when they tackle Schalke in the Veltins-Arena on Tuesday.
Yet that figure has yielded a relatively modest return of four finals, all of which had been won until they were ambushed by a brilliant Barcelona outfit in Rome two seasons ago.
It leaves United trailing in 10th spot on final appearances alone, and joint seventh in terms of tournament wins.
And Ferguson is not comfortable with it.
"This is where we should be," he said.
"The expectation has always been high with regard to the European scene and you do get envious of other clubs' great record in Europe.
"We are trying to gain parity with that. You look at Real Madrid [nine wins-three runners-up], AC Milan [7-4], Bayern Munich [4-4], Ajax [4-2] and Liverpool [5-2].
"We really need to progress quickly to get to that level and the present group have enough experience in Europe now."
It leaves Ferguson with an unusual nervousness, which in itself emphasises how important this competition is to him.
"You always get apprehensive at this stage of the competition," he said.
"Semi-finals are never easy.
"We had the same situation in 1999 when we played our semi-final against Juventus.
"There was an apprehension in our first game at home that we released in the second leg.
"When we played Barcelona in the first leg [three years ago] we got the result we wanted. But the last 20 minutes of the second leg were absolute agony."
United emerged victorious on that occasion, clinging on to a single Paul Scholes strike at the end as Lionel Messi threatened to rip a final place from their grasp.
It has gone down as one of the great Old Trafford nights.
However, against German opposition, there have been quite a few miserable ones too.
That stunning triumph over Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp has rather obscured the fact United have not beaten German opposition in a two-legged game during Ferguson's time at the club.
Bayern alone are responsible for two of the four defeats, including last season's away goals triumph in the quarter-finals.
It is losses to Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen at this same last-four stage in 1997 and 2002 that caused real heartbreak though, considering United were heavy favourites on both occasions, as they are now.
"There is no way Manchester United will be led into believing this is going to be easy," said Ferguson.
"Schalke have beaten every team at home in the Champions League this season, including Valencia and Inter Milan. If you just take that in isolation, it is good form.
"This is going to be a difficult game and we will treat it that way."
As usual, determining the make-up of Ferguson's starting line-up is not easy.
Park Ji-sung for instance is virtually certain to start but could occupy a spot in a three-man central midfield or on either of the flanks.
Similarly Wayne Rooney might be pushed out wide, if Ferguson selects in-form Javier Hernandez, he could be selected as a lone striker, as he was against Bayern 12 months ago, or even in midfield, where he has been pretty effective in the last couple of games.
It is a fair bet he will have a better time of it than he did on his last visit though, made infamous by the Cristiano Ronaldo wink that accompanied Rooney's red card for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho as England bowed out of the World Cup to Portugal in 2006.
"You have to put bad moments behind you. That is normal for any footballer," said Ferguson, who claimed not to be aware such an important moment for his club took place in the ground where he was giving his thoughts.
"But good players create their own platforms in the sense of the importance of their performance.
"Wayne, more than anyone, realises that performances are the thing that he will always be judged on.
"There is an expectation on the boy. He has stepped up to the mark for that - and proved himself entirely. No-one else."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...