Sir Alex Ferguson said Manchester United could not afford to fear Barcelona after setting up a Champions League final showdown with the Spanish giants.
United romped into the May 28 showpiece at Wembley after overwhelming Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 4-1 at Old Trafford with a virtual reserve team, completing a crushing 6-1 aggregate victory.
Two goals from Anderson plus one apiece from Antonio Valencia and Darron Gibson fired United into their third Champions League final in four years and a rematch with the team who beat them 2-0 in the 2009 final in Rome.
Barcelona’s scintillating form in recent seasons have prompted some commentators to hail Pep Guardiola’s team as the greatest club side ever. But while a fervent admirer of the Catalan club, Ferguson insists his team will not be overawed when they meet in the final.
“I don’t think we should be going to Wembley lacking in confidence,” said Ferguson. “I think Barcelona’s form has been very good this season. But we can’t be frightened out of skins because of that. Their form is there for everyone to see – our job is to find a solution.”
Ferguson also admitted he would seek advice from Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho as he attempts to plot Barca’s downfall.
“I speak to him quite a lot and I spoke to him last week. Real Madrid are a different team from us. I think we’ll depend on our own knowledge of Barcelona – it’s not as if we’ve never seen them before. But the experience that Real Madrid have and from Jose’s angle – you always take information from that because he’s very helpful that way.”
Delighted United keeper Edwin van der Sar said United would relish the opportunity to have another crack at Barcelona.
“We have to make sure
we learned out lessons and that we’re better prepared this time than we were last time.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2011.
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