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Hernández: Playing for Man Utd in Europa League will be strange

Javier Hernández insists Manchester United want to win the Europa League, starting with victory over Ajax in their last-32 tie

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Javier Hernández
Manchester United striker Javier Hernández has scored eight goals this seasonPhoto: The Sport Review

Javier Hernández

Javier Hernández has admitted that playing in the Europa League will be “strange” – but insists Manchester United want to win the competition for the first time.

The Red Devils kick-off their Europa League campaign against Ajax on Thursday night, and Hernández expects a difficult first leg against the Dutch champions at the Amsterdam Arena.

“Playing at home in the second leg is important but it’s only a small advantage – it doesn’t guarantee victory,” the Mexican told MUTV. “It’ll be a difficult game but we’ll go to Amsterdam looking to win.

“The Champions League is the best competition in Europe and it’s a bit strange to be in the Europa League. But we want to win every tournament we enter.

“Both teams have a lot of history in Europe, so it should be a great game.”

Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand has praised United’s long-serving midfielder Ryan Giggs after the 38-year-old signed a new one-year contract last week to extend his Old Trafford career until 2013.

“There’s no reduction in his talent,” Ferdinand said. “He’s still one of the better players in training and in games, and can play on both sides of the pitch during games.

“That tells you he’s not getting in because of who he is or what he’s done – he’s getting in the team on merit.”

“He’s just been blessed with a tremendous physique. He’s not carrying any weight, he’s not had any serious injuries and he manages himself really well.

“To have that many appearances at one club is phenomenal. Words can’t describe how great that is.”

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