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BBC's Paul Newman reports from Rio
"There is intense pressure on Manchester United to win this tournament"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 5 January, 2000, 08:40 GMT
Too hot for Man Utd

United Manchester United will not cope with the heat, says Pele


Manchester United will find it almost impossible to win the World Club Championship, according to Brazilian legend Pele.

World Club Championship
The man hailed as the greatest footballer of all time has a healthy respect for Sir Alex Ferguson's side, but feels that they may just find the elements too much to overcome in South America.

"The weather and conditions make it difficult for United, you can't underestimate how vulnerable it will make them coming here from an English winter to a Brazilian summer," Pele said.

"We know their qualities and strengths, they are the champions of Europe and a great team, however it will be very hard for them to win.

"The Vasco game on Saturday is the key one. They will have to adapt their style of play to suit the conditions and that will be the decisive factor.


Ferguson Alex Ferguson says United are taking as many precautions as possible
"Vasco are very strong, they have been building for this competition, and regard it as the most important series of games all season.

"The game between United and Vasco will be the highlight of the competition and the winners will go on to be champions. I expect that to be Vasco."

Ferguson is well aware of the problems the humidity will bring, having encountered a similar situation with Scotland's World Cup squad in Mexico in 1986.

The United boss said: "It was horrendous and very hard on the players. Some of them lost 10 to 12lbs during the match with Germany.

"We are taking as many precautions as we can to combat the heat, humidity and everything else. So far it's not been too hot.

"We've brought 12 backroom staff with us, including physios, our own chef and nutritionist, and we have taken the advice of several experts.

"So far the players have been coping well and it's all about being sensible."

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See also:
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Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.