Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson is confident his men can beat Galatasaray in their Champions League opener.

Manchester United learned from early Champions League exit: Ferguson


Alex Ferguson has vowed Manchester United will not repeat the mistakes of last season's Champions League campaign as his side prepare for their opening match in this term's group stages.

United host Galatasaray at Old Trafford today with memories still fresh of last season's group campaign when Ferguson saw his team fail to reach the knockout stages from a pool containing seemingly modest opponents in Benfica, Basel and Otelul Galati.

This year's group draw has once more apparently been favourable to Ferguson's side, with United up against Braga, CFR Cluj and today's opponents from Turkey.

Ferguson has confessed to misjudging last season's competition, in which he experimented and rested key players, and the fact Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa both started Saturday's 4-0 Premier League win over Wigan on the bench is a clear sign the Scot will field his strongest side against Galatasaray.

"If we don't go through, we will be criticised and pilloried for it and quite rightly," Ferguson said. "We've had our warning and I don't anticipate going out this time.

"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.

"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."

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Ferguson vows to avoid an early exit