Fergie fumes at pen but happy with home form
Sir Alex Ferguson will return to Barcelona determined to prove his Manchester United team is 'special.'
United rightly clinched a place in the last four of the Champions League for the second successive season following a 3-0 aggregate quarter-final victory over Roma.
Leading 2-0 from the first leg in Rome, Ferguson dropped Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes to the bench, and his team still managed a 1-0 win on the night.
After dominating the opening 25 minutes in which Roma goalkeeper Doni made three fine saves, the Reds rode their luck when Daniele de Rossi blazed a 30th-minute penalty over the bar.
Then in the 70th minute, Ferguson's side wrapped up the tie when Carlos Tevez produced a glancing, diving header to a right-wing cross from Owen Hargreaves for his 17th goal of the season.
There was no way back for Roma, leaving United on the cusp of an all-English final against Liverpool or Chelsea should they beat Barcelona, with the first leg at the Nou Camp in a fortnight's time.
'I think we've something really special here, there's something really special with this team, and we want to go there and show we're a special team,' remarked Ferguson.
'Barcelona have a marvellous history, they're a wonderful club, but we can't go there and be negative.
'We have to go there and be really positive, and if we do that then we've a chance.'
Recalling some famous battles with Barca in the past, Ferguson added: 'We gained a lot of our education against Barcelona when we drew 3-3 here in the group stage, and then lost 4-0 in the Nou Camp at a time when we could only play three foreign players.
'I made one of those great, wise decisions of mine to leave Peter Schmeichel out, which didn't turn out too well for us.
'Then the year we won the cup (1999) we drew 3-3 in Barcelona and drew 2-2 in the home match in the group stages again. They were fantastic, unbelievable games.
'We also beat them in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1991, and although that was a different time, I look forward to going there with what is a very good team.'
Ferguson feels his current team has what he describes as 'better energy' going into the clash with Barcelona, compared to the games with AC Milan at the same stage last year when they beaten 5-3 on aggregate.
'I believe the energy of the team is far ahead of the team a year ago. It's much, much better,' assessed Ferguson.
'I believe we would have been in the final if we had had the proper energy, but we had a lot of injuries at the time, and it was the same team that was playing all the time.
'We played a Milan side fantastically prepared against us. We rested eight players on the Saturday before we played them (at the San Siro, losing 3-0), and they were a better team than us.
'If we had had better energy then we would have gone through.'
To add to the victory, Ferguson had Gary Neville back after a 13-month lay-off with an ankle injury, whilst Mikael Silvestre also started, ending seven-and-a-half months on the sidelines.
'It's been a long time for the boy,' added Ferguson on Neville, who came on in the 81st minute for Anderson.
'When we got to 1-0 it was easy to do, although we didn't know where to play him, that was the problem.
'But he came on and got a few touches, and what he has learned is how much he is appreciated by the fans. It was a great reception he got.
'So it was good to have the boy back. He's had a hard, hard time of it, with persistent small injuries that have derailed him.
'But in the last six weeks to two months he has been through a programme we designed for him to ensure he trained in all the sessions and played in the reserve games.
'Now I think we can get him in the team soon - I'm sure he's back.
'With Silvestre, he got injured in the second of game of the season, so to get him back gives us a little extra experience at a very important time of the year.
'So it's been a big bonus for us tonight.'