United’s quest for Audi Cup glory begins on Wednesday evening, but the Reds will ride into battle without club captain Gary Neville.
The 34-year-old tweaked a groin in Seoul last week, cutting short his involvement on the Asia tour and ruling him out of the two-day tournament in Munich. Although he’d much rather be in Germany lining up against the likes of Boca Juniors and either AC Milan or Bayern Munich, Neville’s prescribed rest has at least given him plenty of time to think.
In an exclusive interview with ManUtd.com, the club captain talks about defeat in Rome, losing Cristiano Ronaldo and his own ambitions for 2009/10…
What’s your take on last season? Are you disappointed by events in Rome or proud of winning an 18th title?
I think the best way to describe it was that it was a great season tinged by disappointment. In 25 years when people look back on last season it will be seen as a tremendous success. The problem at this club is that the standards are so high that losing a European Cup final just isn’t acceptable. We just need to put that out of our minds now and try and move on.
How do you bounce back from losing a major European final?
What the experience told us is that we’re good enough to reach consecutive finals, which is something we haven’t done in the past. In the last three years we’ve been to two finals and reached the semi-final stage, so that’s not too bad. You can’t win everything all the time. In Rome we came up against a very good Barcelona team and we didn’t play as well as we know we can. That was disappointing but we’re realistic and we know it’s not the end of the world. Now we’re desperate to reach the final again and put right what happened in Rome.
What would you say to those suggesting United have been weakened by the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez?
A short-sighted observer who perhaps hasn’t followed United