columnist Rob Facey looks ahead to a big week of Champions
League football and wonders if Man United have had a better opportunity to win
Man United legend Mark Hughes has said this is the season
that Sir Alex Ferguson's men will lift the European Cup once more. The
Blackburn Rovers manager, who did his best to disrupt United's clean run at the
Premier League title at the weekend has called for his former boss to end years
of European disappointment and deliver.
"I'm sure Sir Alex
would feel, given all his domestic success, he should have won it more than
once and I believe he will rectify that this time," Hughes wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
"I would suggest
United are likely to go through to the final because this season they look to
be more together whereas Barca, as always, have factions pulling in different
Hughes, who played for both teams during an illustrious
career, is looking forward to the game and thinks it has all the makings of a
Manchester United is a potential Champions League classic that any fan should
"The philosophy at
Barcelona and United is to play attacking, attractive football but Barcelona
have built such a reputation through spectacular play that the fans are
"It's surprising and
disappointing therefore that they have each won the European Cup only twice.
You would have to say the two clubs have underachieved at the highest level."
Barca has suffered an indifferent season in La Liga and
trail Madrid at the top of the table, but with the likes of Henry, Messi and
Eto'o in attack, they can not be underestimated.
Is Hughes right; is this the best opportunity for United to
win the Champions League?
United were knocked out at this stage last year against
eventual winners AC Milan but with Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez is inspirational
form, could this be the season that United reclaim their European crown?
Is Ronaldo the key in United's European scheme? Widely
regarded as the best player on the planet at the moment, it is likely Barca
will attempt to disrupt his game as much as possible – but can the Portuguese
winger be stopped?
The crucial Premier League fixture against Chelsea comes in
between the two legs of the semi final so Ferguson's men are likely to be
tested with the Scot picking his strongest available side for all three games.
If Ferguson can pull of the double this year, will that see
the legendary Scot retire on top, or will he be back for more next season?