Date:Friday February 23 2007
United are very close to get into the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a 1-0 away victory over Lille. The boss is now dreaming about the final.
Fergie is not a man of dreams but he has set his sights on the distant future: he believes the final in Athens could see two English teams battling for the ultimate glory.
The Scot has only one wish: his team to be one of the participants...
'I'd love an all-English final,' said Ferguson. 'Just as long as we are involved in it.
'The competition is very open this season. There's not one team you could look at and say: 'They're the favourites this season'.'
That's true and if you allow me to look at the teams still in the competitions you'll see how right he is.
Barcelona were meant to be favourites as holders, with all the stars in the squad. However, the lengthy injuries of Eto'o and Messi and the problems developing around the Cameroon striker, they are not the same force that dominated Europe last year. They've lost at home to Liverpool and that tells just about everything.
Inter have won 16 on the trot in Serie A but their 2-2 home draw with Valencia put them into a very uncomfortable position before the second leg. Anyone could score against Chelsea when Terry was absent this season and the England captain is out again... Real and Bayern are miserable this season, just as Milan but at least the Italians had a resurgence in form in the last few weeks.
Lyon are not clear favourites and their league form suffered in 2007 whilst the other teams are simply not strong enough to called favourites. Arsenal will not get into a final again, that would be as outrageous as Valencia's successive finals in 2000 and 2001 but even they had a stronger squad than what Arsenal have now.
Liverpool performed admirably at the Camp Nou but it's the same case as Arsenal's: lightning does not strike twice. So, we can win it. I think we won't, purely on the basis of our display against Lille but the chance is there.
Date:Friday February 23 2007
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