Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Champions League

Manchester United © Gallo Images

No early exit for United again - Fergie



Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson vowed there would be no repeat of last season's early Champions League exit as he prepared for Wednesday's opening Group H fixture at home to Galatasaray.

The triple European champions failed to progress from the group stage in 2011-12 after suffering a shock 2-1 defeat by Swiss club Basle in their final fixture.

"We've lost two finals to Barcelona and won two other finals in the last decade or so but we want to do better," Ferguson told the club's website (www.manutd.com). "Certainly we'll do better than last year - no question about that.

"The European Cup is incredible. There's an atmosphere in the build-up to a European final and great charisma about it.

"Also, without question, it elevates your status within the game like the Real Madrids and AC Milans. We want to be up there in terms of the number of trophies won in European football."

Starting with their defeat by Barcelona in the 2011 final, United have won just three European matches out of 11 and have lost four of their last five.

Ferguson's side, playing in the competition for a record 18th time, will be without long-term injury victim Wayne Rooney on Wednesday but on the plus side they have a red-hot Robin van Persie ready to make his first European start for the club.

Van Persie has been in good form since leaving arch-rivals Arsenal in the close season and is already the joint top scorer in the Premier League with four goals, alongside Swansea City's Michu.

The Dutch international was left out of the starting line-up on Saturday before coming on as a second-half substitute to help United crush Wigan Athletic 4-0 in the league.

Fellow substitute Nick Powell capped his United debut with a superb long-range goal against Wigan and the former Crewe Alexandra player said he had some nervy moments when he entered the fray in front of a 75 142 crowd at Old Trafford.

"When I first came on it scared me a little bit because I'm only used to 5 000 people now and then," said the 18-year-old midfielder. "But it's a great atmosphere and the fans were great.

"I learn every day especially from the midfielders Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs. They've all been through it and won trophies and that's what I want to do."

Galatasaray are making their first appearance in the Champions League for six years.

The Turkish club have not won any of their seven away games against English teams but can count creditable draws against Manchester United, Liverpool and Leeds United in their record.

Galatasaray are leading their domestic league, having won three games out of four this season, but coach Fatih Terim knows they are going into the match at Old Trafford as underdogs.

"We will be playing against one of the best clubs in the world," he said. "Can anyone deny they are more likely to win?

"We will try our best, we will never give in. We may lose but we're not afraid to lose. My players and I are experienced enough to know we will have to put up a better fight there than we do in the domestic league."

Galatasaray are without injured central defender Tomas Ujfalusi and right back Sabri Sarioglu.

Umut Bulut, who has scored five goals in four league games this season, is set to partner former Bolton Wanderers forward Johan Elmander in attack.

Probable teams:

Manchester United: 1-David De Gea, 2-Rafael, 15-Nemanja Vidic, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 3-Patrice Evra; 7-Antonio Valencia, 16-Michael Carrick, 23-Tom Cleverley, 17-Nani; 20-Robin van Persie, 26-Shinji Kagawa.

Galatasaray: 25-Fernando Muslera, 27-Emmanuel Eboue, 3-Cris, 26-Semih Kaya, 22-Hakan Balta; 10-Felipe Melo, 8-Selcuk Inan, 7-Aydin Yilmaz, 53-Nordin Amrabat; 9-Johan Elmander, 19-Umut Bulut.

Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany)



Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Neil Tovey
The measure of Mashamaite
I attended the Kaizer Chiefs Awards and witnessed Tefu Mashamaite hand over his Player of the...

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Who will challenge Chelsea?
Gary Neville has said the challenge for next season will be to how to stop Chelsea.

Carol Radull
I want more for Arsenal
Arsenal and Aston Villa are the only English Premier League clubs whose season haven’t ended.

Sunday Oliseh
Soccer stars, spend wisely on family
Emmanuel Adebayor has been very vocal lately in condemning his family of ingratitude.

Segun Odegbami
Three headaches for Juventus
An estimated 400 million audience around the world are glued to their television sets. I am sitting...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Ref assault should be condemned by all
The assault on a referee in Saudi Arabia recently should be condemned by all.