Alexa

Ferguson closer to rectifying United's Euro record

Ferguson closer to rectifying United's Euro record

With Manchester United into a second successive Champions League final, Alex Ferguson is closer to fulfilling his last great objective for the club: Matching its stature with a better return of European Cups.
In his 23-year reign as manager, Ferguson has supplied two of United's three continental triumphs and has said adding another two would allow him to retire satisfied.
The defending champions swept into another final against Chelsea or Barcelona in a ruthless manner on Tuesday.
A slender 1-0 lead from Old Trafford had left them susceptible to an Arsenal comeback, but a commanding 3-1 win provided Ferguson with ample evidence that his players can become the first team to defend the trophy in its post-1993 format.
"I think we're capable of winning, I do," Ferguson predicted at Emirates Stadium.
"This team has the vision, the drive, the ability to play and they play under pressure. There were moments when Arsenal committed themselves very aggressively towards us but we handled it, we coped with it well.
"This team has got a lot going for it."
For all of Arsene Wenger's pre-match rallying cries and Arsenal's early endeavor, a slip by Gunners defender Kieran Gibbs let Ji-Sung Park lift Cristiano Ronaldo's cross over the onrushing Manuel Alumnia in the eighth minute.
Three minutes later and it was mission impossible after Almunia, whose quick reactions at Old Trafford restricted the deficit last week, found Ronaldo's fierce free kick unstoppable after it swerved inside his near post.
The Portugal forward struck again on the counterattack in the 61st, rounding off a move he started outside the United penalty area. Robin van Persie scored a late consolation for Arsenal from the penalty spot after a foul by Darren Fletcher also left the Scotland midfielder suspended for the final.
Ferguson wants a victory in Rome on May 27 to hoist the three-time champions up the European Cup leaderboard. Real Madrid has won the competition nine times, AC Milan (7), Liverpool (5), Bayern Munich (4) and Ajax (4).
"We should have won this cup more times than we have," the 67-year-old Scot said, repeating his lingering frustration.
Ferguson took until 1999, after 13 years at the helm, to deliver United's first European Cup since 1968.
"Prior to Barcelona everyone labeled me, criticized me for not winning the European Cup," Ferguson said. "The longer you are in the game, the more labels you've got attached to you whether it's success or failure.
"There is no gray area. If you're not winning you're useless and if you're winning you are the greatest."
The Red Devils are on course for an unprecedented quadruple this season.
The Club World Cup and League Cup have already been captured, and the English Premier League title defense is moving closer. United has a three-point lead and a game in hand over Liverpool with four matches remaining.
"We had a blip and we lost those games to Liverpool and Fulham (in the league)," Ferguson said. "To hit your top form at this time of year is good. I've got a strong squad at the moment and no big injuries.
"We've got the quality, energy and hunger to do it. And when the chips are down the players don't let me down."


Updated : 2020-12-03 13:23 GMT+08:00