Sir Alex Ferguson knows what it takes to win. Just look at his record in management. A first division title with St Mirren, 10 trophies with Aberdeen, two of those European Cups and an astonishing 30 pieces of silverware in 22 years at Manchester United.
However, over those years, he has had his share of blundering European defeats with Manchester United as well. Losing on away goals to SC Rotor Volgograd in the 1995 UEFA Cup. In the 2002 Champions League, the Red Devils lost 3-0 to Israeli side Maccabi Haifa. 2 years ago, they crashed a 1-0 defeat to FC Copenhagen.
It is that last example that has made Fergie claim that this time his strongest side will be on show as they face Danish champions Aalborg BK in the Champions League?
Two years ago we made a mistake in picking our team against Copenhagen because we were in a comfortable position in the group, and we ended up scrapping away for qualification, so we’ll definitely field our strongest team this time.
Fergie knows that Aalborg are realistic about their chances, but will not roll over for the European giants, as could be seen from the way they fought for a 0-0 draw with Celtic in the opening round of matches. The Scot also went on to note that morale will be high after qualifying for the group stages and the impressive result at Hampden:
For Aalborg to have reached the Champions League is an enormous achievement in itself. Then the result they got in the first game was fantastic, given Celtic’s outstanding home record in the Champions League.
One defeat for Celtic in all those years is a measure of how important that result was for Aalborg, so it makes it interesting for us.
The game could see a first Champions League start for £30m Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov, who has had a slow start to his Old Trafford career, alongside other high-profile United stars as Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo.
United fans would probably call for a strong line-up after a so-called stuttering start to the season. Saturday’s 2-0 win over Bolton at Old Trafford was their first league win since the 25th August when they beat Portsmouth 1-0. A star-studded win against ex-Arsenal manager Bruce Rioch’s side could be just the result they need before travelling to Ewood Park to face Paul Ince’s Blackburn.