When ABUs talk about our win in the Nou Camp in 1999, they will refer to it as “lucky”, thank to the two winning goals we scored, without any luck, in injury time. Ahead of kick-off that evening, I felt anything but lucky, with probably our two most effective players, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane, sitting out through suspension.
The damning card that Roy Keane picked up in the semi-final was thanks to a Jesper Blomqvist mistake, something Keano apparently never forgave him for. However, one of the three yellow cards that saw him banned was chatting back at the referee. It was stupid and it cost him his only chance of playing in a European Cup final.
Ahead of our clash tomorrow evening with Arsenal, United have three players, Patrice Evra, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney, who are a yellow card away from missing out on Rome, if we are to progress to the final, but Sir Alex Ferguson is not worried.
“I don’t need to address it with Wayne,” said Ferguson. “He knows the circumstances. I don’t need to spell it out to him. He is a mature young man. He understands it perfectly well. He needs to be disciplined, but most of the time he is that way.”
Ferguson has also praised the Italian referee, Roberto Rosetti, putting pressure on him not to hand out soft yellow cards to players who could be denied a European Cup final spot.
“I have noticed a trend of the referees being very professional and tolerant in situations like this,” Ferguson added. “They know the seriousness of a player getting three bookings in the whole tournament and missing the final because of it. This guy is an Italian and is well up to handling the situation. Obviously if a player steps out of line there are definitely no excuses.”