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Ferguson also has something to prove in Champions League final
There have been a lot of stories lately about Avram Grant, and how he needs to prove his worth as a coach by seeing Chelsea to victory in the Champions League final on Wednesday (See Richard Williams in the Guardian for a flavour).
But Grant is far from the only one who goes into this final with something to prove or who is desperate to make amends for past disappointments.
Michael Ballack (2002 Bayer Leverkusen), Patrice Evra (2004 Monaco) and Ashley Cole (2006 Arsenal) have only known what it’s like to lose a Champions League final, while the last time Andriy Shevchenko appeared in the final was on that night in Istanbul three years ago.
Then there’s Alex Ferguson. The Manchester United manager has one Champions League title under his belt but the Scot may still feel under a little pressure to get things right on Wednesday.
Everyone remembers the frantic last couple of minutes when United beat Bayern Munich in Barcelona in 1999 but I bet Ferguson still recalls how his tactics for the final didn’t do the team any favours.
With Scholes and Keane unavailable, Ferguson chose Beckham to play in central midfield and pushed Giggs out on the right, where he endured a disappointing night.
It turned out all right in the end, just like it did for Rafa Benitez in 2005, but only after a desperate last throw of the dice. It was a wonderfully happy ending, but I bet Ferguson would love to win the tactical battle this time round as well.
Kevin Fylan, Moscow
PHOTO: Alex Ferguson lifts the trophy with his players after Manchester Utd win the 1999 Champions League final, May 26, 1999. REUTERS