Fergie backs English clubs to excel


MANCHESTER, Nov 3 – Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, is adamant that English clubs will continue to dominate the latter stages of the Champions League this season.FERGUSONEngland’s Premier League has supplied a finalist in each of the last five seasons – with United losing to Barcelona in European club football’s showpiece match in Rome in May – and three of the four semi-finalists for the past three.

But there have been suggestions the standard of English football is on the decline while Spanish giants Real Madrid have been spending lavishly on players in a bid to make sure they reach the Champions League final due to be played at their own Bernabeu Stadium next May.

Liverpool, United’s bitter English rivals, are struggling in their first round Champions League group but Ferguson said talk of the Premier League’s top teams being on the slide was premature.

"The English teams will be involved in the semi-finals again," he said.

"They have been very dominant in the tournament for the last six or seven years. That is shown by the evidence of the latter stages and I think it will be the same this year."

Ferguson added: "Obviously Barcelona are one of the favourites. "You cannot dismiss them.

"But there is no question in my mind that the English teams will compete for the trophy."

United will secure their place in the last 16 with two games to spare if they beat CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford later Tuesday.

Chelsea are equally well positioned after their opening three games, while Arsenal are also on course to reach the knockout stages.

By ontrast, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich are currently outside the automatic qualification spots, while AC Milan and Real Madrid have already lost matches in a group they were expected to dominate.