FOOTBALL NEWS

"We may be David in this David versus Goliath saga, but we enter with no fear. Braga are called the 'Warriors from Minho' for a reason: we will not lie down and we will never give up."

- SC Braga fan, Karl Donnelly
23/10/2012 09:45, Report by Steve Bartram
1 of 3 Next 

Braga fan buoyant

Having moved to Portugal from Dublin, Karl Donnelly quickly fell in love with SC Braga. A decade on, and on the verge of their first trip to Old Trafford, Karl says United must beware a side who know how to perform on the road in Europe...

What have you made of Braga's start to this season's Champions League?
This is our second time in the group stages. Last time we started out badly, losing 6-0 away to Arsenal and 3-0 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk. We were able to turn it around by winning three of our final four games and we nearly sneaked into the last 16. This time around we had a disastrous first game: 65 percent possession, 35 shots at goal, 24 on target against Cluj's four on target and we lost 2-0. It was a hard lesson to learn but in effect we were undone by the same counter-attacking strategy we have used for the last three to four years. Then in Istanbul we did something nobody had done since 2002 and won 2-0 at Galatasaray. Had we not won I would have said our chances of getting out of the group were extremely low, but now we have some breathing room to be more careful in Manchester. The last time Braga lost away from home in Europe was in the Europa League final in 2011 in Dublin. The game in Manchester is a chance to extend our unbeaten away record to eight games, and a draw would set up the return in Braga nicely.
 
How confident are you of reaching the knockout stages?

After beating Galatasaray I think anything is possible now. Braga's recent Jekyll and Hyde displays mean we never really know what is going to happen. Aiming for the knock out stages is the goal for this season. Having come from the brink of extinction ten years ago, club president Antonio Salvador has turned Braga not only into a financially profitable club but also a successful one on the pitch. The only thing lacking is silverware. Knockout stages are unpredictable and that's where we want to be because we have a bunch of fantastic players that really can beat anybody. So I'm confident we can finish in the top two of the group and that we can take something from both games with United.
 
Who are Braga's most important players?
Picking out individual players for their ability to change a match is difficult. Braga have developed in a way few teams in Portugal can. They have regularly five or six players in the national team which no other Portuguese club comes close to. Eder came in from Academica having not played a game in nearly nine months and such has been his form that he was

1 of 3 Next 

@ManUtd
on Twitter