Manchester United are better-equipped to face Barcelona in
the Champions League semi-finals than they were last year against AC Milan, manager Alex Ferguson said on Tuesday.
"It's an opportunity for us to do better than last year. I think
we are in a much stronger position this year in terms of energy of the team
and player availability . But last year we were playing the same players all
the time so hopefully that does make a difference to us. And the important
thing is to enjoy tomorrow and this we intend to do," Ferguson said as he
prepared for Wednesday's first leg at the Nou Camp.
United surrendered a 3-2 first leg lead against Milan when they lost
3-0 at the San Siro last year. They have only reached the final in two of
their previous nine semi-final appearances in Europe's top club competition.
Wednesday will be United's first visit to the Nou Camp since their 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in 1999.
But the Barcelona stadium was also the scene of a 4-0 drubbing for
Ferguson's side in the group stage of the 1994 competition as well as a
pulsating 3-3 draw in 1998-99.
Ferguson said the current United side were better equipped to play in
Europe than their 1994 predecessors and were capable of emulating the success
of the 1999 side.
"It is almost 10 years ago and the team of today don't need any
reminding of the past. But hopefully what is more important is what this team
can shape in their own history and I think we are good enough to do
that," he said.
The United manager said the clash between two of Europe's most
attractive sides would have made a worthy final and confirmed strikerWayne Rooney would play against Barca.
Barca are the only non-English side remaining in the competition, with
the other semi-final featuring a now familiar Chelsea-Liverpool showdown.
"I think that the quality of the Premier league has improved each
year over the last few years. But also the nature of English football, the
intensity of the game, the speed of the play every week, we are talking about
power, I don't necessarily think power wins top level games, I think you have
to enhance the quality and the technical ability to win major games,"
That's it for sports, back to you Anna.