EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

14/08/2013 11:45, Report by Adam Marshall
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Charni hungry for success

it and, if we score one goal, let’s see how the game goes’. We scored the first one, then the second and then the third and I don’t know how we put on a performance like that. It was unbelievable, just to come back like United do, and just a great feeling.

Did it make it even more special that the final was at Old Trafford?
Of course and the crowd were right behind us. The people watching on TV too – even my family called me straight away afterwards. It was a great feeling and I will never forget it.

You were with Antwerp before – did you play for any other teams?
Well, I used to play with my little local team before I moved to Antwerp, where I played three seasons. Warren had been Antwerp manager while I was at the club, and had seen me play. I came to United on trial and they gave me a contract.

As we have good links with Antwerp, did you always hope something might work out with United? 
No! I heard about the links but, to be fair, I was pretty shocked and surprised because a few teams were interested in Belgium but speaking about Manchester United is something quite different. Like I’ve said, to make the step from Antwerp to United is not easy and you have to realise that when you come here.

Did coming to United match your preconceptions about the place?
It was quite impressive the first time I came here. It wasn’t easy for me to leave my family behind, first of all, but once I came to the training ground, it was totally different to Antwerp and just not the same at all. You see the games on TV and see all these big players and big names and then, one day, they are standing next to you! You just have to realise now it’s time to work – you’re here and you have to achieve something.

We have four Belgians now the country has emerged as a force again in world football...
I think we’re producing good players and used to have good players but that didn’t turn out well. Now the manager knows his football and which players to have. So Belgium, as a country, are playing well and people are around big teams in the Premier League so it’s good for our generation as well.

What’s the big secret in Belgium then?
It’s difficult to say as I’m not really over there but I think what’s good for us is our national team is growing

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