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.
Ferguson hoping for 'great' European final
By David Ornstein
John O'Shea insists that earning a place in Manchester United's Champions League final team will count for little unless the holders retain their trophy.
O'Shea is set to start against Barcelona after providing excellent cover across the back four all season.
"It would be the pinnacle of my career to play in the final but to win it is the be all and end all," the Republic of Ireland defender told BBC Sport.
"If we take our chances and defend properly we should come out on top."
United face the Spaniards in Rome on 27 May and it is a fitting way to end the season for O'Shea, an unused substitute in last year's penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in Moscow.
Some would say my versatility has been a hindrance, others would say it has been a benefit - it has got me a place in the Champions League final so it can't have been too much of a hindrance
"If I do play it will be a special occasion but at the end of the night you want to make sure you're on the end of the correct result," said O'Shea, whose place in the line-up was confirmed by manager Sir Alex Ferguson on Wednesday.
"I have a Champions League winners' medal and was part of it but didn't get on to the pitch. This year, fingers crossed, it will go to plan."
Despite rarely being a regular in United's first XI since making his debut in 1999, O'Shea has been heavily relied upon this season in the absence of key defenders.
Injures and suspension have seen him fill in at left-back, centre-back and right-back, making 51 appearances and featuring prominently in United's Carling Cup and Premier League triumphs and their run to the final of Europe's elite club competition for a fourth time.
"Some would say my versatility has been a hindrance, others would say it has been a benefit," said the 28-year-old. "I'd say it has been a benefit.
"It has got me a place in the Champions League final so it can't have been too much of a hindrance."
When asked if the bit-part role before this season had affected his confidence, O'Shea replied: "Obviously it did, but you tell yourself you're playing a part and when your chance comes along you have to take it.
"This year I've been able to take my chance when it's come to me and stay in the team and thankfully the team has stayed successful along the way.
"I didn't particularly think of leaving because if it was right to go I always felt confident the manager would have come to me and said, 'look, you'll get more games elsewhere'.
"But he was always confident enough to say to me, 'look, you'll play plenty of games here, don't worry about it'.
Ferguson predicted that Wednesday's final between the Premier League winners and the Spanish league champions could be a Champions League classic.
"The profile of the final is very good and I hope it lives up to that," said Ferguson.
"You see the players Barcelona have got, you see the players Manchester United have got and it suggests a great final.
"Finals, and European finals in particular, can be disappointing but I have a feeling it won't be that way next Wednesday."
The final gives United a chance to become the first back-to-back Champions League winners and add to the three European Cups they have already won, something Ferguson is desperate to do.
We have proved this season we can get to the final again and hopefully this will give us the confidence to carry on and dominate like we have done in England - to do that in Europe we have everything in place
"I have said so many times and I repeat it, we should have won more trophies in Europe," said Ferguson.
"It is a genuine criticism as far as I am concerned. There have been opportunities to do better. Sometimes we have been unlucky and sometimes we have been disappointing.
"It is an opportunity to get to four. Hopefully we take that because in terms of our history and placing ourselves in the pantheon of teams who have won it four or more times it would be fantastic for us."
Ryan Giggs, who is bidding for a third Champions League title, believes United have the infrastructure needed to dominate the European game.
"We have proved this season we can get to the final again and hopefully this will give us the confidence to carry on and dominate like we have done in England," said the 35-year-old.
"To do that in Europe we have everything in place. The age of the team is relatively young if you take out myself, Gary Neville, Edwin Van der Sar and Paul Scholes."
"These are the two best clubs in both leagues this year and that's been proven by their performances in both winning their leagues and reaching the Champions League final.
"It is two massive clubs with massive history and we both play football the right way. It's the dream final."
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