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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Q&A with Getafe striker Ikechukwu Uche

It was a case of David versus Goliath for Spanish Primera Liga club Getafe CF last week when they battled Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. But doing it twice in less than four days; pulling two back-to-back draws at the Allianz Arena and Nou Camp against Barcelona in a league match is more some achievement.

spoke with Getafe striker Ikechukwu Uche to put those two great results in perspective ato hear what to expect from the Spanish minnows against the Bavarian giants later this week.


How does a modest La Liga club like Getafe play Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena and escape town with a draw and an away goal?

Hard work, simply put. We were motivated going into Germany to play these guys, so all the noise did not really affect us, we're used to it. Now being the UEFA Cup, it has nothing to do with the leagues and it is a different story all together. We understood that we were facing an important team in Europe, and all their important players and I must tell you that everybody was motivated.

Did your team understand that Bayern were touted to win the UEFA Cup and everyone thought Getafe would be thrashed in Germany?

It's normal, knowing fully well that Bayern is a great team, as they've won trophies in Europe. That should be expected as everyone would think that they would win. But you cannot predict what's going to happen as strange things happen all the time.

Would you say Getafe played according to plan at the Allianz Arena or was your team lucky to get that away goal?

The way the game started, we gave too much credit to the opposition. We started off not playing the way we normally do. Maybe we were somewhat afraid of Bayern until they scored.

After the goal, we all came out and started playing our game like we normally do. It felt like once they scored, they took away the burden and we threw caution to the wind. Everybody came out and played according to the gameplan from then on and to God the glory that we finally scored. They had their chances to score a second goal too and at the end of the day both teams had chances to win the game.

Franz Beckenbauer went as far as insulting Getafe that he had never heard of your team, only your manager Michael Laudrup.

I don't have much to say about that. What he said is somewhat true. Not many people are aware of Getafe. If not for our presence in Europe through this competition, nobody would be aware of our club. That's also his own opinion when he makes such remarks. We don't have to dwell on it, think about it or dignify it with a response. In football, we'll let the playing do the job rather than talking. We are focused and are not concerned about his comments.

Some said Getafe's goal was a result of bad defending by Munich players and do not give your team the credit for the goal. How do you respond?

Well before you score, someone has to make a mistake. In football, your opponent will lose concentration. Nothing is perfect, you might be of the opinion that you are defending well. A slight mistake makes a goal. No one should bring up that as an excuse, because even before the goal we created chances to score.

How will Getafe stop Bayern's Luca Toni in the return leg?

It will be tough. We have to be fully concentrated the entire game. We know Toni is a big tall striker who is great in the air. We just have to be attentive to him at all times until the final whistle. We have to play even better than we did in Munich to stop any of their players. We must also pray to have a good game as well.

Real Madrid's current coach Bernd Schuster was Getafe's gaffer last season. Did your team do him a favour by drawing with Barcelona on Sunday?

Well it's not yet over. They are on track to win the league, but you never can tell. Seven points can disappear in football. Look at Arsenal in England, they were leading the league in England and now they are third. Madrid have to keep winning their matches; it's not up to us.

What does your coach have planned for the Bavarian giants, will you play a similar game to that you did against Barca?

The best way to defend is to attack. We will play our normal game. Our normal game is not to defend. The coach is not a person that likes defending. We have to come out for the game so we that we will win in fact, because we are coming out to win. We're not coming out to play a draw or to defend. You also can never tell what will happen, but we want to win.

Your goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri was instrumental in the last two games, what's your impression of the Argentine?

He is a world class goal keeper I must confess. He helped us in the previous game and he gives us more confidence to play every time. His saves are fantastic, we are lucky to have a fantastic goal keeper like him. I hope he keeps on pulling out those great saves for us.


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