Sir Alex Ferguson was understandably delighted after guiding Manchester United FC to a fourth UEFA Champions League final, particularly at the chance to atone for the 2009 final.
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Sir Alex Ferguson was a picture of delight after guiding a much-changed Manchester United FC side to the UEFA Champions League final for the fourth time – the club's third in four seasons and fifth European Champion Clubs' Cup showpiece overall – with an emphatic win against FC Schalke 04. However, the United manager is already looking forward to Sunday's Premier League summit meeting with Chelsea FC, and beyond that the final against FC Barcelona as United seek to atone for their 2009 reverse against the Catalan giants. Schalke's Ralf Rangnick admitted his side had come up short although their was pride in a memorable campaign – and a German Cup final still to come.
Sir Alex Ferguson, United manager
You have to trust the players sometimes; it wasn't an easy decision tonight, I wrestled with it for a few days but the Arsenal result forced the situation. There was emotional tiredness on Sunday, and these European games can do that to you. So I had to make that decision. If it had been a tight game, there was no way I could have made nine changes, but with a two-goal lead, there was enough leeway. Now we'll have a fresh team on Sunday and we'll go for it.
We were favourites [against Barcelona] the last time. Maybe we are a little bit more experienced, but they are at their peak in terms of the development of the two clubs since the last game. But the experience has shown with us in terms of our away form in Europe, and it's shown in Barcelona's form from last year, and this year it's been absolutely brilliant. So it should be a really good final.
I don't think we should be going there lacking in confidence, Barcelona's form in Europe has been very good this season; we're playing a fantastic team, but we can't be frightened out of our skins because of that. Their form is there for everyone to see; our job is to find a solution to playing against them. A final at Wembley should represent the qualities in history and tradition at both clubs. Certainly it should be a good game.
Ralf Rangnick, Schalke coach
Congratulations to United. It was a deserved victory; in both games they were the better team. For the first 20 minutes of tonight's game we played better than in the first leg, although we didn't create many chances. Certainly we had more possession during that period, but once we went behind it was a very difficult task we faced.
If you look at United's so-called second XI today, the quality of the players stands out – players like [Dimitar] Berbatov, Anderson and the two central defenders performed well. That shows their exceptional level; I think most Bundesliga teams would be happy to have that sort of quality in their squads. In the other semi-final between Real Madrid and Barcelona we saw their quality as well. We could possibly have gone out in earlier rounds, but performed excellently in the two legs against Inter; tonight we met our match.
We have two Bundesliga games left and we will be looking for positive results in those, and then there is the cup final. We hope we can get ready and recover the form we have shown recently. We've had three very hard games, against Manchester United and Bayern München, but then we should get ourselves back on track for the cup final.
It's difficult to predict [the final] as it's one game, but you've seen the quality of Barcelona; they've really set the standard for European football at the moment. But on the other hand the final is at Wembley, so there might be a slight advantage for United there. I'm excited to see how it turns out.