Manchester United FC are optimistic about the challenge posed by RC Deportivo La Coruña in their quarter-final tie, despite United's two defeats earlier in the competition. The English club have twice failed to make it beyond the quarter-finals since winning the trophy in 1999.
'We are playing well'
Deportivo won 2-1 and 3-2 on Matchdays 3 and 4 respectively in the first group stage, but after today's draw in the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, United club secretary Ken Merrett believed the quarter-final would be a different prospect. "They were successful that time but I think our form has improved considerably since then," he said. "We are playing well. I think we will go into the match with confidence, it should be a great game. I think the public will see a very good fixture."
Sir Alex boost
He was particularly confident because of the way new players like Juan Sebastián Veron and Ruud van Nistelrooij have settled into the side. "We had a number of new players at the start of the season, and we played Deportivo very early," he added. "They have now bedded into the team and of course the news Sir Alex is staying on has given everyone a boost."
Despite his confidence, Merrett conceded that Deportivo would be a tough challenge, and picked out star striker Diego Tristán as "something special". He also looked ahead to the possibility of an all-English semi-final, should both United and Liverpool come through their ties. "I am sure both our fans and Liverpool's supporters will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect," he said.
Anything is possible
Manuel Montiel, a Deportivo board member, said United would be as tough a challenge as any of the last eight. "Any team reaching the quarter-finals is a good team," he said. "And it is clear that any of the teams we could have been drawn against would be strong. So, at this stage any team can win or lose."
Home tie important
"I think that the advantage is always with the team playing the second match at home," Mr Montiel added. "We'll see. It will be important to obtain a good result in the home match before we travel to the away match with some more guarantees. Apart maybe from the game against [Bayer 04] Leverkusen, Deportivo has played some great games in recent weeks displaying an excellent football. We will enter this quarter-finals with enthusiasm and interest. Then we will see in the two games what happens."
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