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May, 23, 2011

Ferguson plots Barca upset

Sir Alex Ferguson has warned Champions League final opponents Barcelona his team will be unfazed entering the showdown as underdogs, insisting "we have the players to win".

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United suffered heartache in 2009, losing to the Spanish giants in the showpiece in Rome, but Ferguson's troops have the chance to avenge that defeat when the sides resume their rivalry at Wembley on Saturday.

Despite United winning their 12th Premier League title by nine points, many have installed Barcelona as the favourites ahead of the eagerly-awaited clash - leaving Ferguson to begin the mind games by lavishing praise on the Catalan club.

"Yes, I concede Barcelona are favourites in many people's eyes and have a super side, rich in experience and yet youthful enough to give them a good balance," he told The Sun.

"But it is a challenge we are eager to meet. Don't write us off. We have the players to win, too, and while praising Barcelona is something that comes naturally, we will be making our own contribution."

United celebrated their league triumph in style on Sunday, dispatching Blackpool 4-2 to raise the roof at Old Trafford. Club captain Nemanja Vidic was quick to look forward, however, desperate to erase the memory of United's painful defeat to Barcelona two years ago.

"We have to come down after this excitement," he said. "We have to prepare as best as we can for Barcelona. We are celebrating but everyone is thinking about the next game. It is the biggest game of the whole year. We know what it feels like to go to the final and lose. It was one of the saddest moments of my career. I am sure all the players won't forget that.

"We know we are facing a very, very good team and we have to be physically and psychologically ready. Against this Barcelona team you have to be intelligent. They have qualities but we will try to work on their weaknesses, expose them and try to win the game."

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