Away goal is 'big advantage', says Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson insists Manchester United will not suffer a hangover from their weekend defeat against Chelsea when they face Bayern Munich at Old Trafford tonight.
Manchester United must overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit against the Bundesliga leaders if they are to book a Champions League semi-final clash against the winners of tonight’s all-French Lyon-Bordeaux tie.
Having lost their last two games, against Bayern and Chelsea, United’s form has dipped at the worst possible stage of the season.
Even if Wayne Rooney completes a remarkable return to action following his ankle injury tonight, the pressure will still be on United to end Bayern’s three-game unbeaten run at Old Trafford.
But despite the morale-sapping defeat against Chelsea last Saturday, which has handed the Premier League title initiative to Carlo Ancelotti’s team, United manager Ferguson claims that he saw enough signs in the second-half of that game to restore his faith in the chances of victory against Bayern.
Ferguson said: “The players responded in the second-half against Chelsea, so that shows they have more in their locker.
“We looked tired and leggy in the first-half, but once we stirred up in the second-half, we were more like ourselves.
“But tonight is a chance to get to the Champions League semi-final and that is an incentive. Most people would think we have a good chance and the tie is certainly not over.
“Two successive bad results don’t happen often here. You have to recover and, if we get a better performance than we had in Germany last week, we have a great chance.
“The away goal is a big advantage and we have the incentive of knowing we have a game at Old Trafford to score one goal.
“There is still work to be done, but the away goal makes a difference, especially in the modern game. I’d be very happy with a 1-0. I certainly feel better than I did on Saturday night (after the Chelsea defeat).”
With Rooney expected to take a place on the bench tonight, United will at least have some firepower to rely upon should they need a late goal to save the tie.
And Ferguson admits that he is also ready to turn to Italian teenager Federico Macheda after seeing him score a late goal against Chelsea last Saturday.
Ferguson said: “Temperament isn’t a problem for the boy (Macheda). He has had a difficult season with injury and we have only had him back a month.
“He is on his way back, he is a terrific talent and a real penalty box player. He is only a kid, but he can start games. He has started them in the past.
“It has been a hard season for the boy and a long way back when you have been out so long, so I don’t see him starting tonight, but I do think he can play a part.”