Manchester United vs Rangers
Old Trafford, Manchester
Tuesday, 14th July 2010
19:45 BST (+1 GMT)
In the ‘Battle of Britain’, Manchester United will face Rangers at Old Trafford in their opening Champions League group stages game later today.
The Rangers manager, Walter Smith, was employed by Alex Ferguson as his assistant at the end of the 2003/2004 season and the United manager will be hoping to keep his excellent record against Scottish opponents with a comfortable victory over Rangers.
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Rangers on the other hand will be looking to improve on their poor performances in the competition and the fans will be hoping that Smith might have learnt a thing or two about Ferguson in his short spell under him six years ago.
Smith told the press:
“We have to do as well as we can. We have to recapture the level of form of a few years ago.
“Everybody sets out to do as well as they possibly can and that’s what we will be trying to do.
“Quite a number of our lads had a decent run in the Champions League and just failed to qualify in the last game to stay within the Champions League and we managed to get to the final of the UEFA Cup.
“That was a big thing for us then and gave everyone, including myself, a great deal of experience in the European arena so hopefully we will be able to use that.”
The last time these two clubs met was during the group stages of 2003/04 with United winning both the games comfortably. Rangers have only won one game in four played on English soil.
Steven Whittaker, Kirk Broadfoot and Andy Webster are doubtful for Rangers whereas Nikica Jelavic is ineligible.
Kenny Miller, however, is playing and he has scored six in four league games. I doubt the United defense will let him score so emphatically plus he will probably be a lone striker.
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This must be seen as an excellent opportunity for the United team and fans alike to get their European campaign off to a flyer.
United might bring back Rio Ferdinand who is yet to play after his knee injury, which kept him out of the World Cup as well.
“I have been training full pelt with the team the last two weeks and played a reserve game the other day and feel good.
“I just enjoyed being out there, putting the shirt on and smelling the cut grass again.”
Other United players to be possibly excluded are Michael Carrick because of his ankle injury. Anderson might be back and Dimitar Berbatov might make way for Javier Hernandez to make his European debut.
Also, Gary Neville will not be captain on match days because of his regular injury problems and absence due to that. A new captain will appointed and he will remain captain at the club during matches. Currently, Nemanja Vidic wears the captain’s armband while Ferdinand and Neville’s not around. Previously, Patrice Evra and Darren Fletcher were preferred over Vidic.
Interesting Stat: If United wins this match, it will be their 150th win in European football in 279 games. Rangers, on the other hand, failed to win the last ten games in the Champions League.
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