Manchester United news

Fergie: We plan to win Europa League

December 9, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed his team will be going all out to win the Europa League after crashing out of the Champions League.

Peter Schmeichel scores an 89th minute equaliser against Rotor Volgograd in United's last UEFA Cup game.
GettyImagesPeter Schmeichel scores an 89th minute equaliser against Rotor Volgograd in United's last UEFA Cup game in 1995.

In the immediate aftermath of United's exit from Europe's flagship tournament in Basel on Wednesday, Ferguson claimed being dumped into UEFA's secondary club competition was a "punishment''.

However, on Friday he moved to clarify his comments and insisted that United will be fully focused on lifting the only European trophy they have never won.

"The Europa League is a good competition and a strong competition,'' he said. "You only need to look at the teams left in it.

"I made the point the other night that it's a punishment for us to be in the Europa League. What I mean by that is for 20 years this club has only thought about the Champions League. We've only thought about winning that European Cup.

"That's the punishment in terms of the disappointment of not being able to challenge for it this year, especially having been in three finals in the last four years.

"It's not a slight against the Europa League - it's a competition we want to win. We're in it and we'll try to win it.''

United have won the European Cup, or Champions League, on three occasions - 1968, 1999 and 2008 - and the Cup Winners' Cup once - in 1991 - but have never lifted the UEFA Cup, which is now the Europa League.

Their last game in the competition came back in September 1995 when they went out on away goals in the first round against Rotor Volgograd, despite and 89th minute equaliser at Old Trafford from goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.