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Braga boss salutes Ferguson milestone but plans to spoil his rival's party

BRAGA coach Jose Peseiro has congratulated Alex Ferguson on the 26th anniversary of his appointment as Manchester United manager - but is confident there will be little for the Scot to celebrate when the two teams meet tonight.

Peseiro has nothing but admiration for Ferguson and readily acknowledged the landmark his counterpart has reached when speaking ahead of the Champions League Group H clash between Braga and United at the Estadio Axa.

The Portuguese was keen to stress, though, that there would be no presents from his side this evening, warning they were ready to spoil Ferguson's party.

Peseiro said: "I would like to stay with one team for that amount of time, although it is impossible.

"I am 52 years old and I don't think a team will take me for that many more years!

"But my team do not want to give anything to Alex Ferguson. He is a fantastic coach, and an example to any coach with his quality.

"I have spoken with him a few times and you can learn so much in just 10 or 15 minutes speaking with him.

"Congratulations to him, but I think he will go back to Manchester no happier."

Peseiro says his team - who raced into a 2-0 lead against United at Old Trafford last month before eventually going down 3-2 - do not fear the Red Devils, emphasising that he and his players are relishing their opportunity to come up against such opposition and enjoying the hype that comes with it.

"Manchester United are a fantastic team, and (to play them) is fantastic for me and all the players," Peseiro said. "If you play against Manchester United, this is the maximum.

"I would like to go and work in England, like my players, because everybody there likes their football.

"All the media speak more about this game than the games against (the other two teams in Group H) Cluj or Galatasaray. This is a different game."

Peseiro hopes Ferguson gives a run-out to Portugal international Nani, who has endured a frustrating time of it with United of late.

The 25-year-old has been in and out of the team and Peseiro - who worked with the wide man at Sporting Lisbon - wants to see Nani get back to his best form.

"I don't know why Nani is not playing now," Peseiro said of a player he suggested needs considerable "emotional contact" with his managers.

"I know the team is good and that United have not just 11 but 20 players at the same level. It is difficult to play there.

"But I don't know if the problem is to do with his contract or if the manager has less confidence in him. He is not well at this moment. I would like it if he played and played well - without scoring against us!

"I hope he finishes this season very well. It is important for Nani and for our national team."

United currently lead Group H on nine points after three rounds of games, with Braga third on three points.

Second-placed Cluj, on four points, and rock-bottom Galatasaray, on one, also play each other this evening.


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