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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 27, 2009

Fergie: Man United face tough trips in Europe

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Manchester United face a stern test in this season's Champions League after a tough-looking draw in the group stage.

•  Get all the fixtures for the group stages here

United were drawn in Group B with the prospect of long-distance trips to Besiktas in Turkey and CSKA Moscow as well as strong opponents in German champions Wolfsburg.

Ferguson is not a fan of long away trips in Europe, and he told the club's official website: ''These are difficult ties especially the trips to Russia and Turkey. CSKA have developed strongly in the last few years and games in Turkey are always difficult.

''We also know the quality that we're up against with Wolfsburg, with what they achieved in the Bundesliga last season.''

Avoiding such tiring trips was top of Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez's wishlist, and he was grateful that at least was granted.

''The important thing as always is that the travelling isn't too bad, we don't have too far to go for any of the games,'' said the Liverpool manager. ''Lyon might not have won the league last season but before that they won it many years in a row, so we know they have lots of good players who can play good football,'' he told the club's official website.

''Fiorentina are an historic club and if Debreceni have won their league then we know it means it's because they're a good side.''

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis insisted the Gunners would not be complacent but that - having been written off by many people this summer - they were targeting the final in Madrid in May.

Gazidis said: ''A lot of people might say we are the favourites to win this group but we have not played any of these teams before and they are all champions of their respective leagues.

''Our ambition is to become the first London club to win the Champions League. We have believed in ourselves through this close season even though we have been written off and a lot of pressure has been placed on us. One of things we have this year is real focus game-to-game and I think if we can maintain that we can achieve great things.''

Meanwhile, Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon was happy to have avoided the continental big guns.

He said: ''As a group there's not much travel and generally we have to be happy with the draw. There will plenty of glamour ties once you get through this group, but we have to get through this stage first.

''I'm sure Carlo Ancelotti will be happy - he's had a great start to the season, he's very happy with squad and we have great strength in depth so winning that final still beckons.''

Rangers chief executive Martin Bain said their position as second seeds had given the Scottish champions a great boost.

''That was a great accolade and a lot of other clubs were looking up to us and being a bit envious,'' he said. ''There is obvious quality in the group - Sevilla were UEFA Cup winners twice in the last four years, and we have played Stuttgart twice before so we know they are strong.

''We showed when we got to the UEFA Cup final last year ago what can be achieved in Europe when you put your mind to it and we will certainly aim to do that.''

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