Date: 21st April 2008 at 12:52pm
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‘I`m sure United can trouble their defence with the forwards they`ve got. I think there will be goals in the games because of the style of the two teams, and I`ve got United down as favourites for the way they`re playing at the moment.’
The words of Captain Marvel, Bryan Robson.

‘Manchester United are favourites with or without Messi.’
John Toshack, Welsh legend, former Real Madrid coach.

‘They also have strength in depth through midfield and in attack and have a great counter-attacking style that will serve them well on these occasions. United have players who can turn and win a game, and I expect this will see them overcome Barca.’
BBC pundit Alan Hansen.


Just three randomly plucked example. Martin Samuel wrote a few weeks ago in the Times that United will have underachieved if we don’t win the Champions League as the current Barcelona team should be beaten by the English champions.

Now I know of their problems, their infighting, their lack of form. I know that rumours say Frank Rijkaard has completely lost the dressing room, that his lax attitude now can’t motivate a content bunch of world-class players.

But that’s my point. The players are still world-class and no coach is needed to motivate them for a Champions League semi-final. Over the course of the season, were United the better team? Obviously. Does this mean we are the favourites? Well, not in my book.

As all the media predict an all-English final, I’m feeling more and more gloomy despite my initial optimism after knocking out Lyon and winning at Roma. By Wednesday, I’ll get to the point where I won’t even be able to imagine us going through.

I would be much happier if we were not built up as superfavourites – the fall from grace would be spectacular if we lost. Let’s say the two teams are evenly matched and leave it at that.