Park warns side not to underestimate rivals
Ji-Sung Park insists Manchester United will face a stern test against Bayern Munich tonight, even if star duo Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben fail to prove their fitness for the German giants.
Premier League leaders United face Bayern in the Allianz Arena in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie this evening.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s team go into the clash as strong favourites after a comprehensive elimination of AC Milan in the last round.
And with former Chelsea winger Robben and French forward Ribery both struggling to beat injury problems, the odds now appear to be stacked more heavily in Manchester United’s favour.
But South Korean midfielder Park has warned that Louis van Gaal’s Bayern remain capable of making life difficult for United in Bavaria.
Park said: “I have two good friends at Bayern in Robben and Mark van Bommel because I played with them both at PSV Eindhoven.
"They are both very good players, but Bayern have other great players too. Ribery also does well for them and it’s clear that they are three very important players for Bayern.
"This is a Champions League quarter-final, so we know that it will be a tough game for us.”
Tonight’s clash evokes memories of United’s dramatic Champions League final victory over Bayern at the Nou Camp in 1999 - the only time United have beaten the German outfit.
And Park admits that the history attached to the fixture ensures that it will create widespread interest all over the world and particularly in the Far East.
Park said: “Many people back in South Korea are interested in this game because both clubs have a big history in European football.
"We know all about the 1999 Final in Korea, when United beat Bayern in Barcelona.
"It is a big game for all football fans in Asia, but particularly in South Korea."
Bayern coach Van Gaal admits that United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is a huge figure for Ferguson's team.
The Dutch keeper won his first Champions League winners’ medal while playing under Van Gaal for Ajax in 1995.
And Van Gaal claims that, while Van der Sar is not the most naturally-gifted keeper, he has made himself one of the world’s top goalkeepers.
Van Gaal said: “I always say about Van der Sar that he is a made goalie and I don’t think he is so happy when you say that.
"Some are more natural in the game, but he is a made-goalie, a manufactured keeper. His trainer helped him become what is today."
The reason why Edwin has done so well is because he plays with his mind and he is always with it with his mind.
"He is a professional and he trains and works very hard with his mind.
"He is always occupied and preventative. He is a great example for goalies throughout the world."