Ferguson also has something to prove in Champions League final

May 19, 2008

Lucky on the night?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


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Two words…Jesper Blomqvist. Fergie’s tactical nouse has never been that hot. His teams win games because he just tells them to go out and play. Ronaldo goes where he wants. Rooney is more disciplined and sticks to the left sometimes when asked to…but I read that the tactics are all done by assistant boss Carlos Quieroz these days.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Fergus doesn’t have anything at all to prove after winning so much. To say he’s in the same boat as someone like Grant is stretching it a bit.
And I think United are going to win it on Wednesday easily. Experience counts.

Posted by Dave Martin | Report as abusive