Alex Ferguson admits Champions League mistakes

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The Independent Football

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that mistakes may have been made before the 2009 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, but that they have been rectified ahead of the 2011 final against the same opposition on Saturday.

United lost 2-0 in Rome two years ago as they looked to become the first team to defend the European Cup in the Champions League era, but Ferguson insisted revenge is not on the agenda.

"We were disappointed we lost the game but it isn't a matter of revenge it is about our own personal pride," he said.

"We are very focused this time and our preparation has been better. I think we maybe made one or two mistakes last time but not this time."

The Red Devils wrapped up a record 19th domestic title against Blackburn on May 14 and Ferguson revealed that time has been used to prepare for this weekend's final.

"We did most of the work before the Blackpool game and winning the league the previous week helped us that way. The players they have to trust themselves and trust each other because I trust them," he added.

Captain Nemanja Vidic said it was an honour to lead United into the final in his first season as full-time skipper, but that the preparations have been the same as those for any other game.

"Obviously I'm very honoured to be the captain at such a big club and to lead the team to big games, but if you finish the season without the trophy you're not satisfied.

"We can focus now on this big game coming on Saturday and we are doing the usual stuff, but it is more about being ready mentally and physically."

Ferguson had praise for opposite number Pep Guardiola ahead of the game and saluted the swift impact he has made since taking the Nou Camp hotseat.

The former Barca midfielder was the youngest coach to win the Champions League when his side beat United in the 2009 final in Rome, completing a league, cup and European treble in his first season.

They have gone from strength to strength since and Ferguson said: "For a young coach, he's changed the way they play and brought a maturity to the team.

"From beating us in Rome to the present day, you can see that maturity. He's changed the way they press the ball, for a young coach he's done fantastically well and has a good presence.

"He played for Barcelona, which helps, and with the history of Dutch coaches there, he's made a big step forward for Spanish coaches."

Looking ahead to the test presented tomorrow, he added: "There could be a lot of excitement, there'll be a lot of good football.

"We recognise the quality of our opponents, it's unwise to go into a game not preparing for how your opponents play, their strengths and weaknesses.

"But we always focus on what we can do ourselves and we hope to attack, we have players who can do that."

Ferguson is backing his side's European experience to come to the fore and said: "All the teams have different qualities, this team has unity and our record in Europe this year is good.

"We're used to playing in Europe, we have that experience and we're pleased with what we've achieved this year in Europe.

"You look at (Wayne) Rooney, he's more mature now than he was in 2009, and others too. The experience of (Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic) is vital."

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