Last season, Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage after complacent performances throughout and a loss to FC Basel on the final match day left us third in the group.
“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.” Sir Alex Ferguson
Fans were riled at how poorly we played and Sir Alex Ferguson will be asking far more from his players this time around.
He said: “We’ve had opportunities in the competition. We’ve lost two finals to Barcelona and won two in the last decade or so but we want to do better.
“Certainly, we’ll do better than last year – no question about that.”
When we were drawn against Otelul Galati, Benfica and FC Basel last year, it seemed that Manchester United were a dead cert to qualify to the knock out rounds but it wasn’t to be.
Another favourable draw this year has seen us drawn against SC Braga, Galatasaray and CFR Cluj. Again, we are odds on favourite to top the group but with complacency haunting us against the lesser teams last year, Sir Alex will want to show far more respect to the lesser known teams.
He continued: “We’ve seen some examples of that over the last few years. For instance, the Cypriot team [Apoel Nicosia] getting to the quarter-finals and Basel beating us and getting to the next stage against Bayern Munich.
“If we don’t go through, we will be criticised and pilloried for it and quite rightly. We’ve had our warning and I don’t anticipate going out this time.” Sir Alex Ferguson
“There are a couple of other examples of the lesser-known teams doing well and Monaco played Porto in the final one time, which was a surprise.
“But, at the end of the day, you always think one of the big ones is going to win it.
“It doesn’t do the competition any harm, to be honest with you and who would have predicted Chelsea winning it last season?”
Up until last year, we had a fantastic recent record in the Champions League. One trophy, two finals and three semi finals in four years was testament to that.
We will begin our campaign on Wednesday against Galatasaray and despite a busy playing schedule, Sir Alex will no doubt send out a strong team to play the Turkish side as we look to start off this Champions League campaign in winning ways.