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By ESPN Staff

O'Shea confident of back-to-back titles

John O'Shea has already set his sights on helping Manchester United become the first team to retain the Champions League.

No side has successfully defended Europe's biggest club prize, since it was relaunched in 1992.

But after their tense penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea in Moscow last May, United are keen to keep the famous trophy for another 12 months.

And according to Republic of Ireland international O'Shea it is just the kind of challenge Sir Alex Ferguson's men love.

"It would be very special to be the first team to retain this trophy,'' he said. "It is a major challenge for us but facing demands like that and responding to them is what this club is all about.

"If we are still in it after the group stages, when the competition really kicks in, we are in with a great chance.

"With the squad we have, we feel with a bit of luck at the right time, it is ours for the taking.''

When the draw was made, tonight's opponents Aalborg were viewed as the weakest team in Group E, which also includes Villarreal and Celtic.

But that illusion was shattered a fortnight ago when Bruce Rioch's men became the first team to take a group stage point at Parkhead in three years.

"The result Aalborg got at Celtic was an eye-opener for us,'' admitted O'Shea. "We saw how competitive and compact they were and we will need the right attitude to get the right result.

"We have a lot of experience of keeping the ball and quietening down a great atmosphere away from home in Europe and we will need it if we are going to get the result we want.''

Ferguson will make changes from the side that beat Bolton in such controversial circumstances on Saturday, with one inevitable as skipper Gary Neville has remained at home to rest a thigh strain.

After so long on the sidelines, Ferguson now expects his captain to only be available for one game a week.

The position regarding Owen Hargreaves is less straightforward as the former Bayern Munich man is still troubled by a knee injury that first bothered him before his £18million move from Germany.

"We are trying to manage his situation in a different way,'' said Ferguson. "He has had all the treatment but now and again it still flares up. There is nothing we can do about it.

"The specialist says it will go away in time and we hope that is correct because he is a very important player to have.''


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