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"I trust these players. I’m happy for them to represent Manchester United in any game. I think we have a marvellous chance."

– Sir Alex Ferguson

28/04/2008 17:32, Report by James Tuck
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Boss trusts players to deliver

Sir Alex Ferguson has complete faith in his players to produce the goods on the biggest stage against Barcelona on Tuesday night.

The United boss says he is proud to work with a group of players who have demonstrated their character time and again over the course of a thrilling season.

And he has no qualms about the Reds’ ability to cope with the pressure of a Champions League semi-final against the Catalans in front of a fervent and expectant crowd.

“The first thing is I trust these players,” said Sir Alex at Monday’s press conference. “I’m happy for them to represent Manchester United in any shape or form, in any game.

“I think I’m a lucky manager to have such good lads. Character-wise, they’re fantastic. You saw that in the second half against Chelsea when they were absolutely magnificent.

“Silvestre has only had one game in nine months, Fletcher had been out for several weeks. That character is a part of Manchester United. It epitomises the kind of player who needs to play for Manchester United and I’m absolutely proud of the players who’ll be representing me and the club tomorrow night.”

Ferguson believes the Reds are better equipped than at any time since the 1999 Champions League triumph, although he feels luck has sometimes gone against his side in semi-finals.

“I’ve given my side the best possible chance. I think we have a very good team with big-game players who can win matches,” he said.

“If you go back to semi-finals in the past and the times we’ve lost, sometimes we’ve been unlucky – like against Dortmund and Leverkusen. Maybe if we’d been fresher for the semi-final against AC Milan, it would have been different. But we weren’t good enough on the night, Milan were much better prepared than us.

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