fc porto v man utd

Ferguson calls for the spirit of '99 at Dragao

April 15, 2009
By Soccernet staff

Sir Alex Ferguson has called for Manchester United to invoke the spirit of 1999 when they take to the field against Porto on Wednesday.

GettyImages / EricCabanisManchester United are crowned champions of Europe in 1999

A decade ago, United came from two goals down away at Juventus to win their semi-final 3-2 after drawing the first-leg 1-1 to send them into the final against Bayern Munich, thanks to an inspired performance from Roy Keane.

They then came back from 1-0 down to beat Bayern in the final few minutes to lift the trophy, but Ferguson wants to draw on the experience of Turin when comparing the size of the task his side face if they are to progress this year.

The holders face an uphill task if they are to qualify for the last four of the UEFA Champions League after drawing their quarter-final first leg 2-2 at Old Trafford last week, but the boss wants to draw inspiration from one of their best-ever European nights.

"Juventus is the game that springs to mind," Ferguson said. "We drew at home and then had to win away, which we did. There are plenty of performances we'd like to replicate - it's not as if we're short of them.

"The players have to go out there and play to the standard expected of Manchester United.

"All of the players have to be up for it on this occasion, it's not just about individuals. The players are going to have to step up to the plate."

Meanwhile, Manchester United winger Nani is confident that the Red Devils can knock his boyhood heroes Porto out of the UEFA Champions League.

"Why am I confident? Simple, because we have the best players in the world," he told The Sun. "We have the confidence wherever we go. OK, we know Porto are a very good team, play good football and showed their own strengths at Old Trafford but it may be more difficult for them now.

"When you're at home you have to go forward more, and that could leave them under pressure. We are going there to win and we're confident we can do it."