Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Toward "war" UEFA champion league 2008/09

Labels: ,

Sir Alex Ferguson gave a unique insight into the workings of United and Arsenal’s long-held rivalry, just hours before the teams do battle in the Champions League semi-final.

For the winner (over two legs, of course), a place in the final in Rome awaits, and it’s somewhat ironic that the stakes are perhaps higher than they’ve ever been, as both managers and teams have shown a notable cooling in previous exchanges that, at best, could be described as heated.

However, while it’s perhaps less about the fire and brimstone of Keane and Vieira battles, and more the speed and guile of Ronaldo and Walcott, this two-legged affair should still have quite a kick to it.

“The history and traditions of both clubs have been of the highest standing,” says Sir Alex respectfully. “For years, we always looked over our shoulder at Arsenal and they looked over their shoulder at us. Now we have Chelsea banging on the door, and this season Liverpool have made a big effort. It’s a very competitive league, but ourselves and Arsenal over a long period have certainly been the dominant forces in English football.

“I like the way Arsenal play,” he adds. “There are similarities with ourselves in that respect, and also in the way we both believe in young players. We’ve now given eight young players from the Academy debuts in the first-team this season. I think that’s fantastic for a team challenging for honours in the way that we have to. So the similarities are there strongly.”

These matches, Sir Alex insists, are not about the resumption of going tete-a-tete with Arsene Wenger. “I don’t think my relationship with Arsene matters,” he says. “Neither does the relationship between the players make a difference – a lot of them know each other, of course, Mikael Silvestre being the prime example. It’s a game of football and two teams who want to win are going head to head. That’s the nature of the competition we’re in. I’m looking forward to it.”

Arsenal may not be challenging for United’s Barclays Premier League title this season – though they could have their say in its destination when they visit Old Trafford in the league in May. But they are in excellent form at the right end of the season.

“There is always a danger in Europe when a team is not challenging for the league title,” says Sir Alex, aware of the Gunners’ threat. “They’ve got a very good recent record which shows you they are in form. They won’t change, they will do exactly what they normally do: They will have a go, that’s for sure.

“This is why we have prepared in the best possible way. We have enough freshness in the team now. That period where we were playing quite a few games in a short space of time has now changed. Four days rest between games is enough. You saw the energy of the team in the second half against Tottenham, so there is nothing wrong with that side of our play. Arsenal are also fresh, and that augurs well for a good game and a real tussle.”

Preparation is clearly the key, and while Arsenal have plenty to worry about with United’s key players, Sir Alex says United, too, need to be wary of those in the Gunners’ armoury. The Reds boss cites Cesc Fabregas as “a brilliant player” who is coming back to form, and he points out that Patrice Evra will need to be on his toes against Theo Walcott.

“I think Patrice is quick enough for that task,” he said. “He’s played against Walcott a few times. We’re all right with that. Listen, when you’re playing against good players you have to assess everything about them in the sense of what is the best way to oppose them. I think we have to do our work in that respect because the boy Walcott is very, very quick. He’s probably the quickest player in England at the moment. But we have to prepare the right way.”

The prospect of becoming the first team to retain the Champions League trophy is an appealing one to Sir Alex. “It’d be great to be the first team to do it,” he says. “We’re good at winning things first, and maybe that’s a good omen. We’re in the semi-final and with two good performances, or two victories, we’ll get the chance to try and do it for the first time.”

That may mean, over the course of 180 minutes or more of football, taking chances, something Sir Alex isn’t afraid to do. “Football is a game of risk, and you’ve seen how we’ve played over the years. It’s part of Manchester United to take risks to win games. That’s no problem for me. I’ve seen us win games many times in the last fifteen minutes, playing centre-halves at centre forward, going gung-ho. You do it because it’s always worth it to win a game. In that way, this game could be a cracker.”

source : manutd.com


Post a Comment

Freelance Jobs