Manchester Unite manager Sir Alex Ferguson has called on the Red Devils to re-create the aura of invincibility that once surrounded Old Trafford on European nights. The three-time winners have won only three of nine home games over the last three Champions Leagues. Worse still, these wins - against Wolfsburg, Bursaspor and Otelul Galat - came against clubs making their Champions League debuts.
United failed to progress past the group stages last season and despite being drawn in what should, on paper, be an easy group (with Turkey's Galatasaray, Portuguese side Braga and CFR Cluj of Romania for company), Ferguson does not want to underestimate his opponents.
"We don't want to be as careless as we were last year and the team I choose will reflect that. Over the past few years the group stages have been very straightforward for us so it gave me the opportunity to play a lot of young players but I'll be playing a more experienced team now," the Scot told UEFA's official Web site.
The long-serving manager also spoke on the defensive injury crisis that has plagued his side in recent weeks.
"We have had a really rough ride with defenders being injured for the last two or three years but if they remain fit it definitely gives us a better opportunity. If I was guaranteed two of those [centre-halves] being fit for the rest of the season I'd take that gladly right now but it's not been the case," the Telegraph quoted Ferguson as saying.
Meanwhile, the 70 year old admitted to being disappointed at hearing fans of his club singing anti-Liverpool chants during United's win over Wigan in the last league game.
"I didn't hear it (on Saturday), but others did, particularly in the directors' box," BBC quoted Ferguson as saying.
Ferguson, who had said he wanted to end the bitter rivalry between his side and Liverpool in the wake of the recent findings by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, said he could do nothing if some people were determined to make trouble during the Red Devils' visit to Anfield on 23 September. An IBTimes UK report earlier suggested officials from the two clubs would be meeting to work out mutually agreeable means to tackle what could become a very messy situation.