Ahead of our first Champions League game of the new campaign against Besiktas tonight, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra have reflected on the pain defeat in Rome caused.
“Having lost a Champions League final, I know what it feels like,” said Rio. “It was sickening in Rome because we felt we were on the cusp of greatness, so to lose the way we did was really difficult. The worst thing about it was that we didn’t even put up a fight. We never got going. If we had scored in the first 10 minutes, I think we’d have gone on to win the game, but Barcelona got the first goal and it stunned us. We never recovered after that and that was so disappointing.”
Ferdinand believes that there is great expectation put on United’s shoulders which means you have to deal with the stick that follows if they fail.
“You want to win it at all costs and as long as we’re winning, that’s all that matters,” added Ferdinand. “Over the last three seasons, we’ve performed really well. We won the league three times, reached two Champions League finals so people expect a lot of us. If you sometimes don’t deliver the big one, then you get a bit of flak and you have to deal with that.”
Patrice Evra has echoed Rio’s sentiments claiming that the disappointment of the final overshadowed the success we had, but that makes them all the more determined.
“I’m a winner – I like to win – so I still think about what happened in Rome,” said Evra. “Everybody says we did well last season and we won three trophies, but when you lose the final in the manner we did – we didn’t give a true account of ourselves – it’s very frustrating. We didn’t show people the real Manchester United and we were very upset with ourselves. We missed a big opportunity in Rome and that’s a real shame. It killed all my dreams last year. When I think about last season now I don’t think about winning the league or the Club World Cup or the Carling Cup: all I think about is losing in Rome and that’s made me very determined to do well this year and make up for that. But that doesn’t mean my focus is only on the Champions League – my ambition is for the team to do well, no matter what competition we’re in.”