Fergie predicts classic final

Fergie predicts classic final

Published May. 28, 2011 12:38 p.m. ET

Sir Alex Ferguson expects the Champions League final to be the best for a decade as the success for both teams "has been enormous".

But Manchester United against Barcelona certainly has all the ingredients to provide a Wembley classic, with the winner joining Bayern Munich and Ajax on four victories in European club football's greatest stage.

"Many people would agree it is the final of the decade," said Ferguson. "The success of both teams in the last decade has been enormous.

"The attraction of two great teams with great history is obvious. It is an appealing final in terms of what could happen in the game.


"There could be a lot of goals, there could be a lot of excitement and there will be a lot of good football, I am sure of that.

"It is set up. The platform is there. Hopefully it turns out that way."

As Ferguson's likely starting line-up has been touted for three weeks now, there is a predictability about United that is rarely associated with their combative manager.

A surprise or two can be expected therefore, as Ferguson attempts to get the better of Pep Guardiola, a man he came close to signing during his early days at Old Trafford.

"I was quite interested in Guardiola at one time," said Ferguson. "I spoke to his agent when he left Barcelona but he decided to go to Italy.

"Maybe it was a moment lost because I admired him. He was a fantastic passer of the ball."

Such a disciple of football history, Ferguson declined an opportunity to talk about the emotions of a game between two clubs who both conquered Europe for the first time at Wembley.

One senses, more than most occasions, the United boss is focused. Focused on making amends for one that got away in 2009.

"Wembley is still a symbol," he said. "You know when you come here it is for a big reason. There is none bigger than this.

"According to the bookmakers we are underdogs. That doesn't really matter to us to be honest.

"Anybody going into a game of this nature doesn't care what the betting is or what the experts say because of your preparation and what the players can add to what we are telling them.

"The belief factor, the tactics and various things like that do not matter.

"It is what happens on the pitch and we go out there with a genuine chance."