Man Utd chief 'pretty pleased' after draw

August 28, 2008

Manchester United chief executive David Gill revealed that the reigning European Cup holders are 'pretty pleased' following the draw for the group stages of this season's UEFA Champions League.

The Old Trafford club will begin the defence of their crown in a group featuring Villarreal, Celtic and Denmark's Aalborg.

'Overall we are pretty pleased with it (the draw),' said Gill. 'As defending champions we're going to look forward to it.'

Gil isl particularly looking forward to the two ties with Celtic in what is sure to be billed 'The Battle of Britain'.

'It's a great event, their passionate fans and our passionate fans at Old Trafford and up at Celtic Park,' Gill told Sky Sports News.

'I'm sure the players and fans are looking forward to those fixtures.

'You get a tingle in your spine when you see the flashbacks to Moscow. Everyone at the club is very motivated.'

Celtic chairman John Reid is relishing the challenge of facing Manchester United at Europe's top table.

He said: 'I am delighted for our fans we have once again drawn the champions of Europe. Last season it was AC Milan, the year before it was Barcelona.

'If we are going to play in Europe - and we are very proud to be Scotland's representatives - we may as well start with the big ones.

'They don't come much bigger than Manchester United so we are delighted. We have done very well at home and are proud of our record.

'The last time at home we pipped United at the post but they are Europe champions and we will not take them for granted.'

While Reid expressed his admiration for United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, he believes Celtic boss Gordon Strachan is creating a dynasty of his own.

'We talked to Alex before we went in to the draw and we have the greatest respect for Manchester United,' he said.

'He is a fabulous manager, who has a great record over the years. But Gordon is building his own reputation. We have won three titles, now we want to make it four.'

Chelsea face a trip to play Romanian outfit Cluj as well as being drawn with Roma and Bordeaux in Group A.

Chelsea club secretary David Bernard admitted it was an interesting draw.

'The Romanian team is of interest to us because I'm not aware of them at all,' Bernard told Sky Sports News.

'Any team that reaches the group stage of the Champions League deserves respect so we won't underestimate them.

'I think the boys are focused on the Champions League. They are completely focused on reaching the final again this year.'

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry looked forward to the games with Spanish club Atletico Madrid following the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco.

The games with the Spanish club will be special for Fernando Torres and Liverpool's other Spanish players, as well as manager Rafael Benitez.

Torres joined the Anfield club from Atletico and Parry expects a special atmosphere.

'With our Spanish contingent that will be a couple of very big games,' said Parry.

'They are all fairly close by so there are no challenging trips,' Parry told Sky Sports News.

Liverpool were also drawn with PSV Eindhoven and Marseille in Group D.

Arsenal director Danny Fiszman admitted the distances the Gunners would have to travel to away ties would be of concern to manager Arsene Wenger.

The north London club face away trips to Portugal, Turkey and Ukraine to play Porto, Fenerbahce and Dynamo Kiev in Group G.

'One of the big issues for Arsene is the distances we have to travel,' said Fiszman.

'They are tough games with very difficult stadia to play in,' he told Sky Sports News.

'I'm sure they will be very stiff competition, the results at home will be what will decide this group.'