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Mar 30, 2014

Rafael declares himself fit for Bayern

Rafael da Silva has eased Manchester United's defensive injury worries by declaring he will be fit to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Rafael sent off v Bayern
Rafael was sent off against Bayern in 2010.

Payne: Pressure eases

The right-back came off at half-time in United's 4-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday but declared his thigh problem will not prevent him from facing Pep Guardiola's side at Old Trafford.

United are also waiting to see if centre-backs Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans will be back in contention but Rafael insisted his withdrawal at the weekend was purely precautionary.

He said: "I am OK. My thigh was a little bit tight. We just wanted to make sure I would be OK for Tuesday."

The Brazilian admits he still blames himself for United's exit to Bayern in the 2010 quarterfinals and has bad memories of his last meeting with them.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side were 3-1 ahead in the second leg at Old Trafford, and 4-3 up on aggregate, before Rafael was sent off and then Arjen Robben scored the goal that sent Bayern through.

And the defender said: "It's on my mind still. I will never forget that. I played so good in the first half but then I got sent off like I did it was good learning for me. It cost United the match. It was a lot of help for Bayern when they play against 10 men. I learned from that."

Rafael believes the current Bayern team are superior to the side he faced four years ago but takes heart from United's dramatic victory against them in the 1999 final, when Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored injury-time goals.

He explained: "They are better now, yeah. They have similar players. But [Manuel] Neuer is there and others too. But everyone is beatable in football. If you speak about United, we are the best club in the world. The history here is fantastic. After what happened in '99 everything is possible."

Now United are underdogs against the defending champions and Rafael added: "We have to do 200 percent or 300 percent to win."

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