Manchester United will head to Wembley seeking Champions League final revenge against Barcelona later this month after sweeping aside Schalke in their semi-final second leg at Old Trafford.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side have the opportunity to erase memories of their 2009 final defeat by Barcelona in Rome and head to Wembley full of confidence after one of the most one-sided knockout ties of recent years.
Ferguson said: ‘We have no need to be frightened of Barcelona and there is no reason why we should not go to the final full of confidence. Our form has been good and we are having a fantastic season.
‘There should be no terror and we can’t be frightened out of our skin. Our job is to find a solution to what Barcelona do. ‘Of course I would prefer to be facing Brechin in the final, with the greatest of respect to them! ‘But at the start of the season I would have wanted to steer clear of Barcelona until the final and we have managed to do that.’
The fact the final is at Wembley, where United lifted their first European crown in 1968, will add to the sense of occasion. Barca also like Wembley. They won the first of their three European Cups in London 19 years ago. This was officially the most one-sided semi-final in Champions League history. No team had ever triumphed by five goals on aggregate.
United beat Benfica 4-1 to lift the European Cup for the first time at Wembley in 1968. But they lost the 2009 final 2-0 to Barca in Rome.
Van der Sar added: “It will be a great occasion and hopefully a better outcome than a couple of years ago.”
Asked if there was a sense of destiny about United getting to Wembley after their legendary 1968 triumph, Ferguson said: “Let’s hope so – this club has done destiny many times.”
Old Trafford been magnificient atmosphere when Red Devils fan sing & chant’s “Wembley, Wembley… We’re the famous Man United & We’re going to Wembley”…
Ferguson has often looked back on the 2-0 defeat by Barcelona in Rome with regret, claiming that his team simply got things wrong on the night. He added: ‘They are at their peak but we are more experienced and our form has been good.’ Ferguson made eight changes from the team that lost in the Barclays Premier League to Arsenal on Sunday but the gamble paid off. Ferguson said: ‘I did not sleep thinking about it. I woke up four times and picked four different teams, but when you see them produce a performance like that you think there is no reason not to play these players. Barcelona are the team of the moment and it’s fantastic to watch, but we know what we have to do.’
Ferguson revealed he may speak to his friend, the Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, before the final. Real lost their Champions League semi-final to the Catalan team but did recently beat them in the Spanish Cup final. Ferguson added: ‘I speak to him a lot and I spoke to him last week. We have our own knowledge of Barcelona, but Jose is very helpful that way and you can always take information.’
Copyright 2011 by Daily Mail & The Sun