Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United are keen to put behind them last season’s failure to qualify from their Champions League group.
United managed just one win in six group games and failed to score in four of their outings.
“There is a desire and a need to do well in Europe.” said United boss Ferguson, ahead of their opening Group F game against Celtic at Old Trafford.
“Myself and the players know we have to do better than last year.”
Since winning the competition in 1999, United have yet to reach another Champions League final and in the 2004/2005 competition, failed to get past the last 16 round after being knocked out by AC Milan.
United have not reached the quarter-finals of the competition since the 2002/2003 season.
Ferguson added: “I think if you look at our European campaign last year I think it’s best written off. It was a poor one. We did not nearly get to our level of performance and of course that was a lot down to that we did not score goals. Hopefully that’s behind us and I think the players are eager and keen to do that and make sure that’s forgotten. They won’t let the fans down this year. We were disappointed last year and that won’t happen this year.”
With Ruud van Nistelrooy, who scored 35 goals in 43 Champions League games for United, having departed to Real Madrid, Ferguson is confident Louis Saha will fill the attacking void left by the Dutchman.
“There is no question he can handle the responsibility of leading our attack. He is an excellent footballer. He is quick, has two good feet and is good in the air. His goal ratio is terrific. I don’t see any problems with him at all. The key is for him to keep himself fit.”
During the news conference Ferguson refused to answer questions about his relationship with Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, with whom he has had a bitter rivalry stretching back more than 20 years.
“If you want to know about my social life, ask somebody else,” said the United manager.
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Man Utd 2 Celtic 1