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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 19, 2007

'We're ready to put right Euro failures' - Saha

Louis Saha has admitted the desire to right the wrongs of the past three seasons will burn deep inside Manchester United at the Stade Felix-Bollaert tomorrow night.

United tackle Lille looking to make the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2003, when the Red Devils were turfed out by Real Madrid.

Since then, a miserable tale of European woe has included first knockout round defeats to FC Porto and AC Milan before a humiliating group stage exit 12 months ago.

The failure to beat, or even score, in two games against tomorrow's opponents was a major contributing factor to one of the most embarrassing European adventures of Sir Alex Ferguson's 20 years at Old Trafford.

And Saha has revealed the eagerness among his team-mates to ensure the Red Devils endure no repeat.

'There is a desire in the dressing room to put what happened in the last three years right,' said the French forward.

'I am not going to say Lille didn't play well against us last year but the problem was more due to our performances.

'We should have done better in those two games against them because we were generally performing to a higher standard than we showed in those games.

'However, we are playing even better now, everyone is full of confidence and we do feel we have the potential to win the Champions League and people outside England feel that way too.'

Six points clear of Chelsea in the Premiership and with the prospect of an FA Cup quarter-final trip to either Middlesbrough or West Brom if they can overcome Reading in a replay on February 27, United have every reason to feel confident as they approach the final three months of the campaign.

In fact, whisper it quietly, but conversation within the Old Trafford dressing room has even drifted towards the unprecedented 1999 treble-winning campaign which the current Red Devils may yet emulate.

'We have to go for the whole lot,' said Saha.

'When you think about the opportunity in front of us, it is amazing.

'We have been joking in the dressing room about 1999. It would be unbelievable to achieve it because what happened that year was incredible.

'We have put ourselves in a good position, but that is all it is at the moment and it is not enough.'

After a spectacular start to the season, Saha should have been an automatic choice in Sir Alex Ferguson's starting line-up.

However, the arrival of Henrik Larsson from Helsingborg threatens to consign the Frenchman to the substitutes bench.

Larsson has already struck up a productive partnership with Wayne Rooney and, mindful of the veteran Swede's last game in the competition when he came off the bench to inspire Barcelona to their final victory over Arsenal in Paris last May, Ferguson may opt to start with the on-loan forward.

Despite complaining about the scheduling of Saturday's FA Cup tie, Ferguson is able to select from a full-strength squad, including first-choice keeper Edwin van der Sar, who has recovered from the broken nose he suffered at Tottenham a fortnight ago.

It leaves the United camp confident of success, if a little wary of the opposition, who lost on home soil against Lyon on Friday.

For Saha, victory would take him another step closer to the meaningful silverware he so desperately craves.

Although he was controversially selected above Ruud van Nistelrooy for last season's Carling Cup triumph over Wigan, Saha has otherwise been dogged by bad luck when it comes to major showpiece occasions.

Left out when Newcastle lost to in the FA Cup Final in 1999, Saha was cup-tied when United last won the competition four years later and injured again the following year when Ferguson's side were beaten by the Gunners on penalties at the Millennium Stadium.

Worst of all, the 28-year-old managed to get himself suspended from last year's World Cup final despite being largely restricted to minor appearances from the substitutes' bench as France were eventually defeated by Italy.

It adds up to a tale of frustration for the former Fulham man, something he is keen to end.

'I came here to win trophies,' he said.

'That is what you are looking for when you sign for a big club like this.

'I did enjoy playing in the Carling Cup final last year but hopefully I will get even more chances in the future.'

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