'We made mistakes in Rome two years ago'

 

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson declared last night that the "one or two mistakes" Manchester United made in their Champions League final defeat to Barcelona two years ago would not be repeated and that he was "very sure" his side would be better prepared for their task this time around.

Ferguson (right) – whose suggestion that the approach in Rome was imperfect bore out Cristiano Ronaldo's post-match claim that "we got our tactics wrong" – appeared to hint that he was ready to start Javier Hernandez with Wayne Rooney, rather than seek to stifle the Catalans with a five-man midfield.

"No one in our club thought for a minute he could achieve what he has achieved this season," Ferguson said of Hernandez. "Hopefully it will continue that way [on the] night. He has the temperament to succeed [on the] night."

That said, Ferguson passed up the opportunity to say that his side, in true United tradition, would meet fire with fire against Barcelona at Wembley and the opposition will certainly dictate his game plan to some extent.

"We always have to recognise the qualities of our opponents," said the manager. "It's unwise to go into a game not preparing for your opponent's play, though of course we focus on what we can do ourselves."

The mistakes he spoke of may have been United's attacking start to the final in Stadio Olimpico, which fell apart when they conceded the first goal. The only sense of foreboding Ferguson displayed at his pre-recorded interview with MUTV yesterday concerned who will not make the bench. It may have been significant that Darren Fletcher initially joined Darron Gibson, Gabriel Obertan and Bebe away from the main warm-up on the Wembley pitch last night. Fletcher had been expected to be a substitute.

Ferguson dismissed the notion, which he raised after the win over Schalke, that he had conferred with Jose Mourinho over how to tackle the Catalans. "I've had a small conversation with him and he wished us success," he said.

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