Sir Alex Ferguson regrets not selecting Park Ji-sung for Manchester United's 2008 Champions League final

Mark Critchley
The Independent
Sir Alex Ferguson still has regrets over the decision to exclude Park Ji-sung: Getty
Sir Alex Ferguson still has regrets over the decision to exclude Park Ji-sung: Getty

Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager, has revealed that dropping Park Ji-sung is his one regret about the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow.

The final was one of Ferguson’s greatest nights in his 27-year-long reign at Old Trafford, with his third great United side beating Avram Grant’s Chelsea 6-5 on penalties after 1-1 draw.

Ferguson won his second European Cup that night, but as he prepares to manage his 2008 team once again for Michael Carrick’s testimonial later this year, he claims he regrets his team selection.

“It was a really great bunch of players with a great attitude about them and a good, strong squad,” he said. “My problem in the 2008 final, maybe I even regret it to this day, was I left Ji-sung Park out completely in the final.

“He’d played such a great role and that’s the problem when you get to these finals. At Wembley [against Barcelona two years later], I did it to Dimitar Berbatov and he took it badly. He didn’t deserve it.

“No player deserves to be left out of the final. That’s why we try hard at these European seminars with the coaches to try to get 11 subs in the final.”

Park was rarely considered more than a fringe player during his seven-year stay at Old Trafford, but Ferguson regularly called upon him in important, season-defining matches.

The South Korean started United’s semi-final second leg victory over Barcelona, yet found himself left out of the matchday squad for the final.

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