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Sir Alex welcomes Benfica tests in Group C

Published: Thursday 25 August 2011, 20.51CET
Sir Alex Ferguson spoke of the "great history" between Manchester United FC and SL Benfica after his team were drawn against the Eagles, FC Basel 1893 and newcomers FC Oţelul Galaţi.

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Published: Thursday 25 August 2011, 20.51CET

Sir Alex welcomes Benfica tests in Group C

Sir Alex Ferguson spoke of the "great history" between Manchester United FC and SL Benfica after his team were drawn against the Eagles, FC Basel 1893 and newcomers FC Oţelul Galaţi.

Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson is looking forward to a pair of "great games" with SL Benfica in UEFA Champions League Group C, which also contains FC Basel 1893 and debutants FC Oţelul Galaţi. Two clubs steeped in European Cup tradition, United and Benfica met in the 1968 final at Wembley, which the English side won 4-1, and more recently crossed paths in the group stage in 2005/06 and 2006/07. The outsiders in the section, Oţelul and Basel are relishing the prospect of meeting two former winners of the competition.

We've played Benfica in the past − they're always great games. There's great history between the two clubs
Sir Alex Ferguson
Manchester United are one of the top sides and  reached the final last year. They are one of the best teams, very attractive opponents, but we will not give up
Thorsten Fink

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager
It's an interesting draw with no real travel difficulties. We're looking forward to the games. We've played Benfica in the past − they're always great games. There's great history between the two clubs.

Basel are a Swiss team who are doing really well. Swiss teams tend to bring lots of young players through their system, which is great. We have played them before, in 2002/03, in the [second] group stage. We don't really know much about Oţelul Galaţi but that's the beauty of the Champions League, you get fresh teams to play against.

Rui Costa, Benfica director
United are one of the top clubs in the world and it fits well with Benfica, because we are celebrating 50 years since our first European Cup triumph. Basel and Oţelul are also strong. Oţelul are Romanian champions and it is their first time in the competition, so they are the biggest mystery for us. Although we respect our opponents, we believe we can qualify and we want to qualify.

Thorsten Fink, Basel coach
It would have been nice to have drawn Barcelona or Milan, but we were still drawn into a great group. Manchester United are one of the top sides and  reached the final last year. They are one of the best teams, very attractive opponents, but we will not give up, no matter who the opposition.

We are the underdogs; we want to take our chances. Benfica are also very strong, not as strong as Manchester United, but they are very good nonetheless. Hopefully we can start a string of good results in the league [Basel are four games without a win] and maybe the draw can give us a boost. Last year we started badly [a 2-1 defeat by CFR Cluj 1907), so this must not happen again.

Dorinel Munteanu, Oţelul coach
Obviously we are the underdogs in the group, but I am confident we will win some points. Our aim is to qualify for the Europa League and we might fight for third place with Basel. It will be extremely tough. From the first pot I would have preferred Chelsea, but I am happy I will meet Sir Alex Ferguson. Though he is one of the oldest coaches in the Champions League, he is one of the most famous coaches in history.

Last updated: 27/11/12 17.19CET

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