Moscow a distant memory for Fergie

Next Story

Sir Alex Ferguson is not convinced memories of Moscow 2008 will play any part in Wednesday night's eagerly-anticipated Champions League encounter between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Earlier this week, Petr Cech claimed the Blues were nursing a desire for revenge after their agonising penalty shoot-out defeat at the Luzhniki Stadium three years ago. However, ahead of the two-legged quarter-final tussle, Ferguson believes hunger of the present is what will really drive both teams on.

"I don't believe players think about revenge," said Ferguson. "Something that happened three years ago goes out of your mind quite quickly. The main ambition for any team is to win the cup. The motivation is greater to the match than to think about what happened in the past."

For the first time in weeks, Ferguson is having to give some thought to the defensive make-up of his team.

Jonny Evans' availability after a domestic suspension offers an instant enhancing of his squad strength but it is the knowledge that Rafael and Rio Ferdinand made the trip south that is really giving the United boss cause for thought.

Both would be part of United's regular back four, although for Ferdinand in particular, the dilemma over whether to pick him is great thanks to a combination of the 32-year-old's own rustiness after two months on the sidelines with a calf strain and Chris Smalling's outstanding form alongside Nemanja Vidic.

"I don't know about Rio," said Ferguson. "He had 10 days physical work and has been training with us on the football side for seven. He does have experience and is a fantastic footballer."

Although Ferguson has spent the season defending his troops against the charge of being an underwhelming representation of United by recent standards, the Scot himself came up with one immediate difference between Wednesday's eagerly-anticipated clash and that final in Moscow.

"There is one major difference - there is no Ronaldo," said Ferguson. "He was a fantastic player."

Nevertheless, it is conceivable that seven of United's starting line-up from that night will retain their places, with Nani and Antonio Valencia amongst those set to join them.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Chris Smalling
Petr Cech
European News
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Nemanja Vidic
Antonio Valencia
Jonny Evans
Rio Ferdinand
Next Story

Read more