Champions League - Draw reaction: No travel pleases Fergie
Reuters - Thu, 26 Aug 20:18:00 2010
A round-up of reaction to the Champions League group-stage draw made on Thursday, with Alex Ferguson pleased at the lack of travelling his side will have to do.
Internazionale (holders), Werder Bremen, Tottenham Hotspur, Twente
Inter ambassador Luis Figo: "We hope that after a fantastic year, of which we are very proud, we can manage a repeat. It's a tough group but if we want to go to Wembley (for the final) we have to beat everybody. German teams are always well-prepared and English ones know how to be dangerous. It's strange we didn't draw (former Inter coach Jose Mourinho's) Real Madrid given that destiny sometimes reserves itself for these occasions."
Bremen striker Claudio Pizarro: "We've got a really tough group but I still believe we can make it. Against Italian teams I have almost always scored and so we have to make sure it works again this time. We have won in Milan in the past, even if Inter won the Champions League last season."
Lyon, Benfica, Schalke, Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Schalke coach Felix Magath: "It was clear from the start we would get a difficult group. Lyon turfed Real out of the Champions League last season and Benfica won the championship very easily in Portugal so these are two very good teams. Tel-Aviv on the other hand is a team we can beat. We have to grab points in our home matches against all opponents."
Lyon coach Claude Puel: "It's a very balanced, quality group and the matches will be fiercely contested. I don't know Tel-Aviv, we'll soon find out how strong they are."
Manchester United, Valencia, Rangers, Bursaspor
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson: "Walter Smith's already been on the phone, talking about tickets for Old Trafford! Like me, he's really looking forward to our games against each other. You can't complain about that, it's a good draw for us. You always look at the travelling side of it and the only one that's of any great distance is the trip to Turkey."
United chief executive David Gill: "(Rival managers) Alex Ferguson and Walter Smith (of Rangers) go back a long way and we are looking forward to it and there will be a great atmosphere up there and at Old Trafford. I remember when we played up there in Glasgow in 2003 and Phil Neville scored and the atmosphere was amazing. The fans will make it a great occasion. Valencia had a good season last year and we have always had tight games against them. It's getting more difficult, no team has retained the title in the current format and that demonstrates the attractiveness and competitiveness of it."
Barcelona, Panathinaikos, Copenhagen, Rubin Kazan
Barcelona sports director Andoni Zubizarreta: "Teams appear easy or difficult in theory but you have to see what happens on the pitch ... it's clear there are no spectacular names in our group."
Bayern Munich, Roma, Basel, CFR Cluj
Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal: "It could have been far worse ... but even so we have to stay focused in this group to advance. I am also glad we have avoided very long flights for the games."
Chelsea, Marseille, Spartak Moscow, Zilina
Marseille chairman Jean-Claude Dassier: "It will be great to see (Chelsea striker) Didier Drogba back at the Velodrome but he will come with his mates and it won't be a piece of cake. The rest, I think, is manageable. It's an easier draw than last year. Chelsea are the favourites but I think we can beat the other two."
AC Milan, Real Madrid, Ajax, Auxerre
Real Madrid dircetor Emilio Butragueno: "Milan don't worry me because you are always going to get a difficult or very difficult side. What I didn't like was getting Auxerre as the fourth team. It was the toughest part of this draw for us."
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri: "Our group and that of Inter are certainly the two most difficult. Certainly we will be pumped up to face Real. The San Siro and Bernabeu will be rocking. A spectacle is assured. Ajax and Auxerre have got through the playoffs brilliantly and are two opponents to really fear."
Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez: "I can feel it ... we'll finish third and play the Europa League because it will be very complicated against Milan and Real."
Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, Braga, Partizan Belgrade
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis: "I think it is great we are going to see (former striker) Eduardo back at the Emirates Stadium. He will get a very warm welcome there with Shakhtar Donetsk."