Fergie upbeat as United look to finish off Roma
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson heads into the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Roma tonight with quiet confidence despite his side being held to a draw by Middlesbrough on Sunday.
Ferguson believes the driving sleet and snow at the Riverside Stadium made the game a lottery as Afonso Alves scored a brace for the home side with Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney replying for United.
He said: 'We made two uncharacteristic mistakes in that game.
'It was an unusual match because of the conditions. The surface was slippy and greasy and anything could have could have happened.
'Both sides made mistakes and that had a lot to do with the elements.'
United hold a 2-0 advantage over Roma going into the second leg and look set to face Barcelona, 1-0 winners against Schalke in their opening match.
Responding to a suggestion that his side are the form team in the Champions League, Ferguson was cautious.
He said: 'I watch games in Europe and see different types of football. That makes it difficult to assess where we are. The best way to assess it is if we get to the final.
'You can be the best team and lose. That's why we are not in the FA Cup final. We are looking for consistency. If we can get it in Europe, like we have at home, then we have a chance.
'Barcelona are a marvellous club and have a good team. But these things are never easy.'
Roma still harbour hopes of winning Serie A but have beaten United only once in five previous meetings in the last year.
Ferguson said: 'We have one foot in the semi-final and the clock is against Roma. But nothing is certain in football. You cannot take anything for granted.
'We have been involved with Roma a lot recently and I do not think they will change anything in their approach to this match.
'We have to counter any danger. When you are at home you have to express your performance in a big way and hopefully we can do that.'
Ferguson will make a decision later this morning as to Rio Ferdinand's fitness after he suffered a foot injury at the weekend.
Should the England defender fail to make it then either Gary Neville or Mikael Silvestre are poised to return to the team.
Ferguson said: 'I am hoping Rio will play. His scan was clear, that was the important thing. Therefore we are hoping we can get him fit to face Roma.'