Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes the unity in his side holds the key to beating Barcelona in Saturday’s Champions League final at Wembley. I was fortunate to be present at the screening of the Press Conference, courtesy of the good people of Champions League sponsors Heineken, and Ferguson insists that an increased sense of togetherness can carry his side over the line this time around, and that a number of key players have ‘matured’ since that night in Rome.
“All these teams have different qualities of course but I think the great quality this team has is its unity,” Ferguson said on Friday.
“It’s different from other teams in some ways. There are not a great deal of changes between this team and the one that lost in 2008.”
“They are far more experienced in Europe. There are different qualities but we’re very pleased with what we’ve achieved this year in Europe.”
“We are much more mature, especially in terms of Rooney’s progress as a player in Europe. He is much more mature than he was in 2009.”
“I think the experience of progress in Europe particularly this season gives us a good chance on Saturday but it will be a difficult game for both teams.”
Ferguson also paid tribute to his opposite number Guardiola, who led Barcelona to the La Liga title earlier this month.
“I think the most revealing thing about Guardiola is that he is a young coach who came to the club and changed the way they played,” Ferguson said.
“They all recognised he’s brought maturity to the team and he has a role for the present day.”
“He’s changed the way they press the ball and it has been very impressive in particular. For a young coach he has done fantastically well and he was a good presence about him. He has made a big step forward for Spanish coaches.”
Ferguson approaches the final with the luxury of a fully-fit squad.