MANCHESTER - Manchester United's
consistently good away form in Europe, underlined by a 1-0 win
over Rangers that secured a Champions League last 16 place on
Wednesday, continues to satisfy manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
"We've found a way of playing in Europe away from home,
there's a good composure in the team and we can quieten an
atmosphere. We are good at these certain types of games," said
the Scot after victory at Ibrox.
Ferguson, who first won the Champions League in 1999, sees
the 3-0 semi-final second leg defeat to AC Milan at the San Siro
in 2007 as pivotal to the emergence of the current team's
Leading 3-2 from the first leg, they were two goals down
within half an hour as they struggled to cope with the onslaught
of the Italians.
Since then Ferguson has regularly employed a fluid 4-5-1
formation for United's toughest away matches, although he paired
Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov in attack for the 1-0 win in
Glasgow on Wednesday.
Playing with a lone striker has enabled his side to get men
behind the ball and soak up pressure, while retaining a strong
threat on the break and being able to maintain possession for
The flexibility and work-rate of the likes of Ji-Sung Park
and Ryan Giggs have been key to getting the best out the system
that has once again established United as regulars in the
closing stages of the Champions League.
It has been so successful that until the 2-1 defeat at
Bayern Munich in March, they were unbeaten in 16 European away
matches, keeping clean sheets in nine of those games.
United have now won all three of their three Champions
League away matches this season following earlier successes at
Bursaspor and Valencia.
Ferguson regularly expresses his frustration at not having
more than two Champions League trophies to show for almost of a
quarter of a century at Old Trafford.
But he feels the win over Rangers was another sign of the
growing maturity of his team, who have not lost in 28 matches in
"Our away form in Europe has been very good over the years,"
Ferguson said. "But for that injury-time goal against Bayern,
we've had a fantastic record that has stretched three years."
United are level on points with Premier League leaders
Chelsea but Ferguson has warned that his team can perform better
than they have done so far this season.
"It's not all been black and we've had some good
performances this season," he added.
"But we're looking for better rhythm to our game. When we
get a rhythm we are a very good team but we're searching for
that a little bit at the moment."
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