European Football: Real challenge is the lure for Graham

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WHILE some rival Premiership managers were enduring uncomfortable media inquisitions, explaining why their players had failed to live up to European expectations, Arsenal's George Graham was able to savour Arsenal's spectacular scoring feats in Belgium.

After his side's 7-0 win at Standard Liege, which secured a remarkable 10-0 aggregate success, the Arsenal manager wants to see his side pitted against Real Madrid in today's draw for the quarter-finals of the Cup- Winners' Cup. 'It is just a personal preference,' Graham said yesterday. 'It does not matter who we get in the quarter-finals because all the teams are glamourous, tough opposition.

'But Real have this aura about them - a magical thing for me. I remember standing in the crowd as a boy at Hampden Park in 1960 watching them win that famous European Cup final 7-3 against Eintracht Frankfurt.

'We can carry the flag in the Cup-Winners' Cup, which I believe is even tougher to win than the Champions' Cup, looking at the quality of opposition,' Graham added.

Wednesday's win was a record in Europe for Arsenal, beating the 7-1 margin they have achieved twice, both in the Fairs Cup, away to Staevnet of Denmark in their first European tie in 1963, and at home to Dinamo Bacau of Romania seven years later.