Football: Campaign unites Englishmen: Manchester's finest aim to produce more delights against the Turkish champions to help ease the post-Rotterdam depression

MANCHESTER UNITED'S England men returned from Rotterdam with tails lodged firmly between their legs but, good pedigree chums that they are, a brisk walk soon restored their spirits, and the European Cup will have them straining at the leash when Galatasaray come calling at Old Trafford tonight.

Alex Ferguson admitted yesterday that Paul Ince, Gary Pallister and Lee Sharpe had all been lower than a dachshund's derriere in the aftermath of the World Cup catastrophe in the Netherlands, but their reaction had filled him with admiration, and there was no question of any hangover, he said.

'The three of them were in really bad shape when they came back to us on Thursday morning. I didn't work them. I just took them for a walk around the training ground and had a quiet chat with them.

'I told them that what happened was a big disappointment for everyone but that it wasn't the end of the world. They still had challenges to meet with their club, the most important of which is to get through into the Champions' League.'

Only two of the three players had the opportunity to demonstrate their mental resilience at the weekend, Ince missing the win over Tottenham which took United seven points clear at the top of the Premiership with an ankle injury sustained in the Feyenoord stadium.

To managerial relief, the man who put the motor in midfield dynamo will be back tonight, competitive as ever, when the champions will be doing it for England. Not forgetting Denmark, France, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, and quite possibly Russia, too.

His team's cosmopolitan make-up enabled Ferguson to lighten the mood at an interviewer's expense yesterday - and at the same time make a very valid point.

'It's an awkward time for managers just now,' he said. 'I was on TV this morning, and all these guys want to talk about is how bad England are. This fella said: 'You play good football, why can't England play good football?' I came back with a beauty, killed him stone dead. I said: 'We pick from the whole of Europe - Russians, Danes, French, Irish, Scots - we've got the whole lot.' '

True enough, and the perfect riposte to those seeking to square the circle by equating club and international football.

The League of Nations assembly does present occasional problems, like who to leave out under the five-foreigners rule. Roy Keane was unlucky against Honved in the first round. This time it is likely to be another Irishman - Dennis Irwin, with Sharpe switching to left-back.

Using the thin pretext of minor injuries, Ferguson has chosen not to give the Turks notice of his team, but was prepared to confirm that Keane would definitely play.

'For this game, given the way Galatasaray play (5-3-2) it is important to have strength and running power in the middle of the park. Roy showed plenty of that on Saturday.'

United have watched the Turkish champions three times recently, Ferguson travelling to the Black Sea for their match against Trabzonspor, only to find them at half- strength. The scouting missions identified Turkey's tall centre-forward, Hakan, and his speedy partner, Turkyilmaz, plus Tugay, the international midfielder, as the main threat.

The Turks have a reputation for hot-blooded histrionics, and strong refereeing would be needed, Ferguson felt. 'They will come here rolling around, doing a bit of play-acting and trying to kill the game. They'll be up to all the dodges.'

Strong refereeing? The omens are not good. Peter Mikkelsen is in charge - the not-so-great Dane who missed the Jan Wouters assault on Paul Gascoigne at Wembley, and gave the Dutch a penalty for a foul Des Walker committed outside the area. 'He was good to Holland that night, all right,' Ferguson growled.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world