Champions League

Fergie: No early exit for Utd

2012-09-18 07:49
Alex Ferguson (File)

Manchester - Sir Alex Ferguson has vowed Manchester United will not repeat the mistakes of last season's Champions League campaign as his side prepare for their opening match in this term's group stages.

United host Galatasary at Old Trafford on Wednesday with memories still fresh of last season's group campaign when Ferguson saw his team fail to reach the knock-out stages from a pool containing seemingly modest opponents in Benfica, Basel and Otelul Galati.

This year's group draw has once more apparently been favourable to Ferguson's side, with United up against Braga, CFR Cluj and this week's opponents from Turkey.

Ferguson has confessed to having seriously misjudged last season's competition, in which he experimented with line-ups and rested key players, and the fact that Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa both started Saturday's 4-0 Premier League win over Wigan on the bench is a clear sign the Scot will be fielding his strongest side against Galatasary.

"If we don't go through, we will be criticised and pilloried for it and quite rightly," said Ferguson. "We've had our warning and I don't anticipate going out this time.

"We've had opportunities in the competition. We've lost two finals to Barcelona and won two in the last decade or so but we want to do better. Certainly, we'll do better than last year - no question about that."

While Ferguson has also expressed his desire to wrestle the Premier League title from Manchester City this season, there is no doubt he also retains a burning ambition to lead United to what would be a fourth European crown.

"The European Cup is incredible," added Ferguson. "There's an atmosphere in the build-up to a European final and great charisma about it.

"Also, without question, it elevates your status within the game like the Real Madrids and AC Milans. We want to be up there in terms of the number of trophies won in European football."

However, given the experience of last season - in which eventual Premier League champions City also failed to reach the knock-out stages - Ferguson is wary of complacency creeping into his squad.

"We've seen some examples of that over the last few years," said Ferguson of the danger of an upset in the competition.

"For instance, the Cypriot team (Apoel Nicosia) getting to the quarter-finals and Basel beating us and getting to the next stage against Bayern Munich.

"There are a couple of other examples of the lesser-known teams doing well and Monaco played Porto in the final one time, which was a surprise. But, at the end of the day, you always think one of the big ones is going to win it.

"It doesn't do the competition any harm, to be honest with you and who would have predicted Chelsea winning it last season?.

"The only thing you can think about is qualifying."

United seem certain to start van Persie and Kagawa against Galatasary, with veteran defender Patrice Evra, also rested on Saturday, poised to return.

The Turkish side still remember, with pride, the 1993 Champions League campaign in which a 3-3 home draw, followed by a goalless stalemate at Old Trafford, saw them knock United out of the Champions League on away goals.

Fatih Terim, Galatasaray's current coach, believes his side are capable of repeating that upset.

"I don't need to tell you how Manchester United are a big club," he said.

"We respect them but we don't fear them. We are going to England for a good result.

"Years ago we made history against them. I believe Galatasaray can repeat that success."

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Sierra Leone clash on

22 minutes ago

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
16 September 2014
Liverpool v Ludogorets Razgrad, Anfield 20:45
Benfica v Zenit St Petersburg, Estadio da Luz 20:45
Juventus v Malmö FF, Juventus Stadium 20:45
Olympiakos v Atlético de Madrid, Karaiskaki Stadium 20:45
Real Madrid v FC Basel, Santiago Bernabéu 20:45
Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal, Signal Iduna Park 20:45
Monaco v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Stade Louis II 20:45
Galatasaray v RSC Anderlecht, Türk Telekom Arena 20:45
17 September 2014
FC Bayern München v Manchester City, Allianz Arena 20:45
Ajax v Paris Saint Germain, Amsterdam ArenA 20:45
Barcelona v Apoel Nicosia, Camp Nou 20:45
FC Porto v BATE Borisov, Estadio do Dragao 20:45
NK Maribor v Sporting Lisbon, Ljudski Vrt 20:45
Roma v CSKA Moscow, Olimpico 20:45
Athletic Club v Shakhtar Donetsk, San Mamés 20:45
Chelsea v FC Schalke 04, Stamford Bridge 20:45
30 September 2014
CSKA Moscow v FC Bayern München, Arena Khimki 18:00
BATE Borisov v Athletic Club, Borisov Arena 20:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Porto, Donbass Arena 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Chelsea, Estadio José Alvalade 20:45
Manchester City v Roma, Etihad Stadium 20:45
Apoel Nicosia v Ajax, GSP Stadium 20:45
Paris Saint Germain v Barcelona, Parc des Princes 20:45
FC Schalke 04 v NK Maribor, VELTINS-Arena 20:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Vote

Which team will win the 2013/14 Champions League title?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.