‘Barcelona, Dortmund & Real Madrid are Man United’s rivals for Euro crown’
Braga v Man United: Sir Alex Ferguson says Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid as Champions League contenders
Sir Alex Ferguson has identified Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid as Manchester United’s biggest rivals for the Champions League crown this season.
The Red Devils can assure their place in the knockout stage of the competition with victory over Braga in Portugal on Wednesday night, with Ferguson’s men top of Group H.
The 71-year-old, who celebrated his 26th anniversary at United on Tuesday, is delighted by his attacking options and feels the return of Anderson and Darren Fletcher, plus Shinji Kagawa’s arrival, have significantly bolstered his midfield.
“I’ve made the point before about how strong the Champions League is and therefore we need to perform at a real high level to win it,” said Ferguson.
“You can’t look past Real Madrid and Barcelona, and I do think that Borussia Dortmund’s campaign will be about the Champions League this season.
“I think those three teams have an outstanding chance and I hope we can join them because I think we have a got a good squad of players.
“The area I’m most pleased with is our attacking threat and there are goals there. Obviously we have some work to do on the defending part.
“The other encouraging part is bit by but we are forming a good collection of outstanding young midfield players, which I’m really pleased about.
“Players like Anderson, Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell are proving we are gathering some good midfield players which encourages me even more.”
Braga v Man United: Pre-match facts
• Braga have won their last four home meetings with English opposition and did not concede a goal in posting victories over Birmingham City (1-0), Liverpool (1-0), Arsenal (2-0) and Portsmouth (3-0) during the past five years.
• The victory over Arsenal, courtesy of two Matheus strikes, came in the 2010-11 Champions League and featured Alan, Leandro Salino and Hugo Viana
• United’s record in Portugal is W5 D2 L4. They are unbeaten in four visits dating back to December 2005 and a 2-1 loss at Benfica.
• The Red Devils won the first of their three European Cups by beating Benfica 4-1 in the 1968 final at Wembley.