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May 27, 2011

Fergie plays down talk of aerial threat

Sir Alex Ferguson has played down suggestions that Manchester United will look to launch an aerial bombardment on Barcelona during Saturday's Champions League final.

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It has been suggested that United would look to negate the perceived superiority Barcelona have on the ground by focusing on set-pieces.

United captain Nemanja Vidic is a real threat in the air, while Rio Ferdinand can also cause problems in the opposition box, but Ferguson shot down suggestions that the match will hinge on dead-ball situations.

"What advantage is that?" Ferguson said in response to questions about United's supposed height advantage. "I don't see that, I don't think it is correct. We have these two here [Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic] and Michael Carrick, that's it.

"They have [Sergio] Busquets, [Gerard] Pique, possibly [Eric] Abidal. So I don't see that as an advantage at all. They also have [Carles] Puyol who is a very determined defender so I don't see it as an advantage.

"I don't think it will come down to that, it will come down to what happens in general open play."

Ferguson feels United have prepared well for the game and suggests his side have improved since they were beaten by Barca in the 2009 final.

"I think we are as well prepared as we can be," Ferguson said. "In terms of big games if we perform well we have a chance.

"We are much more mature. In terms of [Wayne] Rooney's progress, he is much more mature than he was in 2009. And other players too. The experience of [Ferdinand and Vidic] are vital to us. I think the experience of progressing in Europe gives us a good chance.

"It is going to be difficult for both teams. Barcelona have fantastic qualities and I think our qualities will shine through too and that I think will bring a good game."

The Red Devils wrapped up a record 19th domestic title against Blackburn on May 14 and Ferguson revealed that time has been used to prepare for this weekend's final.

"We did most of the work before the Blackpool game and winning the league the previous week helped us that way. The players they have to trust themselves and trust each other because I trust them," he added.

Captain Nemanja Vidic said it was an honour to lead United into the final in his first season as full-time skipper, but that the preparations have been the same as those for any other game.

"Obviously I'm very honoured to be the captain at such a big club and to lead the team to big games, but if you finish the season without the trophy you're not satisfied.

"We can focus now on this big game coming on Saturday and we are doing the usual stuff, but it is more about being ready mentally and physically."

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