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Sir Alex Ferguson hopes Manchester United FC can "go one better" this season after two UEFA Champions League final defeats in four seasons, as the Red Devils come up against an FC Basel 1893 side whose coach Thorsten Fink was an unwilling witness to one of United's finest hours.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson
They've always been among the premier teams from Switzerland [which] has been producing very good young players for quite a few years now. Basel too have very good experience in Europe, so I expect to see that from them tomorrow.
It's an exhausting season unless you use all your squad. The players understand that a big squad gives them a better chance of winning things; they've understood the squad system for a long time now and want to do well when they get their opportunity. [Ashley Young] brings great awareness, endurance up and down the flank – something we've enjoyed with Ryan Giggs for many, many years – and his crossing and set pieces are also outstanding. He's fitting in well, has shown good application and has treated everyone right. He's done very well.
The Champions League is the best competition in the world now. It's not been a golden period for us because we lost two finals [in four seasons]. I hope we can go one better this year and win it because that's always the goal of this club.
Saturday: Stoke City FC 1-1 United (Crouch 52; Nani 27)
De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra; Nani, Anderson, Fletcher, Young (Giggs 70); Berbatov (Welbeck 70), Hernández (Owen 11)
• United dropped their first Premier League points of the season at Stoke, a draw ending a run of six successive league victories stretching back to last season. With 22 goals in their first six matches, United nonetheless matched Newcastle United FC's Premier League record, established in 1994/95.
Sir Alex confirmed the absence of Wayne Rooney (hamstring), Jonny Evans (ankle), Javier Hernández (dead leg) and Chris Smalling (groin) in his pre-match press conference. Rio Ferdinand is available after completing 90 minutes against Stoke on his return from a calf strain, but Tom Cleverley (foot), Nemanja Vidić (calf) and Rafael (shoulder) are all out.
Coach Thorsten Fink
We haven't come here to sit and watch, we're here to play. It's going to be a challenge but we're looking to get something out the game. To do that we'll need to be tight at the back as United are clearly very strong in attack. They're one of the favourites for the competition alongside Barcelona, but we've got experience, good young players and we won't play with any fear. We'll see what happens.
There is no question of me trying to get even for [the 1999 UEFA Champions League final defeat with FC Bayern München]. I'm here as a coach, I'm glad to be here and so are the players. I have great memories of that game even though we lost, as I always think that everything that hurts you makes you stronger. We went on to win the Champions League in 2001 so that 1999 defeat definitely made Bayern stronger. We played well that day [in 1999] but it proved that if you let your guard down for a moment against a team like United you get punished.
Saturday: FC Thun 1-1 Basel (Rama 81; Streller 73)
Sommer; T Xhaka, Abraham, Kováč, Shaqiri; Andrist (Schürpf 83), G Xhaka, Huggel, Zoua (Park 67); Pak, A Frei (Streller 67)
• Marco Streller took his tally to a goal in each of Basel's last three league games but the side's five-match winning run in all competitions nevertheless ended in Thun. Fink's charges have scored in each of their opening ten league games this season but have managed just four victories.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Benjamin Huggel are suspended, and Valentin Stocker (knee), Gilles Yapi (knee) and Genséric Kusunga (hamstring) are all injured, yet Scott Chipperfield is available after recovering from a torn muscle that ruled him out of the start of the season.
Basel have never won in seven visits to England and since drawing at both Liverpool FC and United in their debut UEFA Champions League campaign in 2002/03, they have suffered defeats at Newcastle United FC, Middlesbrough FC, Blackburn Rovers FC and Fulham FC.
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