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Page last updated at 18:51 GMT, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 19:51 UK

Ferguson seeks place in history

Uefa Champions League final: Barcelona v Manchester United
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Weds, 27 May Kick-off: 1945 BST Coverage: Live on ITV1 and Sky Sports 1, BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio Manchester; BBC Sport website.

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We can make history - Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has set his sights on elevating his Manchester United side into the pantheon of European football's all-time great teams.

United take on Barcelona on Wednesday with the aim of becoming the first team to defend the Champions League title.

"This is an opportunity for us to be put alongside a lot of the great teams of Europe," said Ferguson.

"If you look back, sides like Ajax, AC Milan and Bayern Munich regularly won it on consecutive seasons."

The last team to successfully defend European football's most prestigious prize was AC Milan's star-studded side in the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons, and no team has managed it since the Champions League format was introduced in 1992.

But feats like Real Madrid's five consecutive European Cups in the 1950s, and Ajax's early 1970s domination have lived long in the memory of football fans, and Ferguson is keen for his players to prove they belong in such company.

606: DEBATE

"There have been a lot of unlucky teams in world football but when you look at the pantheon of great teams you need to have won the European Cup to have that tag," said Ferguson.

"There is no question about that. It has always been that way. Teams like Manchester United and Barcelona have to win the trophy to be regarded in that respect.

"It is unusual that no one has done it (defended the trophy) since the Champions League started, but we are good at doing things first and this is our opportunity.

"Great teams used to do it but not now. We have an opportunity and hopefully it is something we can tick off."

PHIL MCNULTY BLOG
Phil McNulty

Manchester United have won the competition three times in their history but still fall short of the likes of Madrid (nine), Milan (seven) and domestic rivals Liverpool (five). Victory for United would see them pull level with Bayern Munich and Ajax.

"There are times we should have done better in Europe," said Ferguson.

"This particular team has that type of future and the experience to do well over the next few years and hopefully on Wednesday we can endorse that."

Victory for United will see them lift a quadruple of trophies having also won the Premier League, the World Club Cup and the Carling Cup this season.

It would rank alongside the treble they won in 1998-99 but defender Rio Ferdinand says the players are only focused on the task in hand.

At the end of the day you guys (the media) will determine where you place us in history

United defender Rio Ferdinand

"Until we do it we don't know where will rank alongside other teams," said Ferdinand.

"At the end of the day you guys (the media) will determine where you place us in history.

"It's not for us to say we are this or that. We just want to win the game and win whatever competition we are in."

Ferguson, meanwhile, has vowed that his side will attack Barcelona on Wednesday, despite the outstanding form of their defence this season.

"Defending is part of the game and when my defenders are on form, there is no-one better," said Ferguson.

"But it will be the players who can create and score that will win the game for us.

"Neither team will want to give the ball away. That will make it a very interesting game.

"What we do with it compared to our opponents and how long we can keep it will be the deciding factor.

"It has the capability to be a fantastic final."



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see also
Barcelona v Man Utd
26 May 09 |  Europe
Vidic ready to win at all costs
26 May 09 |  Europe
How Man Utd mastered Europe
26 May 09 |  Man Utd
Who has won the European Cup?
26 May 09 |  Europe
Man Utd defence is key - Lineker
26 May 09 |  Man Utd
The men who make Barca beautiful
26 May 09 |  Europe
Road to Rome photos
25 May 09 |  Europe
Kahn's Champions League nightmare
26 May 09 |  Europe
Barca's Toure ready for 'decider'
25 May 09 |  Europe
Rome puts alcohol limits on final
25 May 09 |  Europe
Ferguson hungry for more success
22 May 09 |  Man Utd
O'Shea eager to secure Euro glory
21 May 09 |  Man Utd
Man Utd fans given Rome warning
20 May 09 |  Manchester
Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona (agg 1-1)
06 May 09 |  Europe
Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd (agg 1-4)
05 May 09 |  Europe
Man Utd make victory parade plans
28 Apr 09 |  Manchester
Ferdinand backs Vidic for award
25 Mar 09 |  Man Utd
Man Utd earn dramatic Euro glory
22 May 08 |  Europe


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