Nani: United can win in 2012

Nani: United can win in 2012

Published May. 29, 2011 10:58 a.m. ET

Nani insists there are reasons to be upbeat despite the comprehensive nature of Manchester United's Champions League final defeat by Barcelona.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side held their own for periods of Saturday night's 3-1 loss at Wembley as Wayne Rooney cancelled out Pedro's first-half opener.

But Barcelona, hailed by some as the best club side in history, were classier throughout and eventually strolled to victory as goals by Lionel Messi and David Villa won Pep Guardiola his second Champions League trophy in three seasons.

Nani, who came on after 69 minutes, watched from the bench as United started brightly - just as they did in 2009 before losing to the same opposition - and even recovered from going a goal down to fight their way back.


And the Portugal international believes United can take heart from several aspects of the performance as they look to eventually win Ferguson his third European Cup success.

"Of course we can win it, why not?" he asked. "We have been doing so well.

"We got to the final and had an opportunity to win and fight against Barcelona to try to win the trophy but it is difficult to play against Barca.

"You never know, next season maybe we'll get to the final again, against a different team. Or even if it's Barcelona, we could win it."

He added: "I think we showed in the first half that it can be done against Barca, we can play against them and score goals.

"But in the second half we left a lot of space in the middle and then they created more chances."

Nani admitted it was difficult for sides to maintain such pressure for a whole game.

"They play such good football and they have such fantastic midfield players," he admitted.

"They keep the ball for a long time and then it's hard to run all the time after it."

On Saturday night, as in 2009, United were without the midfield energy of Darren Fletcher, but Nani refused to cite the Scot's absence as a reason for the defeat.

"I don't know, Darren's a fantastic player but the decision is Sir Alex's to make and he decided to not put Darren Fletcher in the team tonight.

"Everybody on the pitch had the quality to play and perform."

The winger admitted he was "bitterly disappointed" by the result and also frustrated by his omission from the starting XI.

"It is hard for me because I always want to play and always want to be in the team," he said.

"I wanted to play the final. Everyone wants to play the final and because I did so well this season and I was a bit disappointed not to be in the team.

"But that is football. Sometimes you play and sometimes you don't play but I have to respect the manager's decision. You cannot do anything."