Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the two names on everyone’s lips here in Rome, but Sir Alex says there are other players who can shape the Champions League final tonight at Stadio Olimpico.
“All my players have to play well,” said Sir Alex. “From our perspective there is always an opportunity to score. We always carry a goal-threat right throughout the team. Hopefully that continues.
“Another important factor is concentration and, I have to say, a bit of luck. Not all teams get it, but in certain moments of a game you need it. That can decide or turn the game, and hopefully we get it.”
United have carried out in-depth analysis of Barcelona’s matches and their main strengths, and of course Messi comes up as a main topic. “Like every game, you analyse your opponent’s strengths. Yes, Messi is a fantastic footballer. We played against him twice last season and we know exactly how powerful a player he can be.”
Sir Alex adds that there are moments when he attacks your defence “and you think, ‘Oh no, not again.’ We hope we can cope with that, and I think we have the players to do that. It won’t be easy and you have to respect great players. We will definitely respect him.”
In Ronaldo, United have a player who can do exactly the same to Barcelona. “They’re are two fantastic footballers,” adds the boss. “They both have the ability and courage to attack defenders all the time.
"No matter how many fouls they get against them, they get up and want the ball. That’s the kind of courage you want to see. They both have it. Both have different types of qualities; they are physically different types of players.”
But it’s not just the Ronaldo and Messi show; Sir Alex believes he has plenty of key players who can influence the match, even, as in Ji-sung Park’s case, if he doesn’t have the ball at his feet.
“It was a terrible disappointment for Ji-sung when we didn’t include him in the squad last season in Moscow,” adds the United manager.
“I am sure he will be involved in the squad tonight. And if he plays or comes on, he can make an impact that players like Messi and Ronaldo cannot, because he is a different type of player.