Should his Manchester United complete the double over Celtic on Wednesday, the holders’ place in the last 16 of the Champions League would be virtually assured.
United and Villarreal enjoy a six-point cushion above Celtic and AaB in Group E, so United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson has been able to leave Wes Brown, Gary Neville and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar in Manchester as he looks ahead to Saturday’s trip to Arsenal.
“Obviously we have a big match in the league on Saturday, but that will take care of itself,” he said. “The game against Celtic is incredibly significant for us. I’ll try to pick a team that can [win]. There’s absolutely no chance of us underestimating Celtic.”
“Perhaps they were chastened by the result in Manchester and with the support they have they will be very determined to turn it around,” he continued the 66-year-old.
“Celtic have a fantastically passionate support – one of the best in the world. We will have to try to control that as well as matters on the pitch. Last time we played in Glasgow we did that and performed well, but we forgot to score goals. Now we are a different team, a more experienced team.”
Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic have yet to score in Europe this season and that statistic is not lost on manager Gordon Strachan. Their cause is not helped tonight by the loss through injury of strikers Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Georgios Samaras.
“The better team won in Manchester, but at home we are a different prospect,” Strachan said. “We will try to put some pressure on Manchester United and the fans are always important. They’ve been fantastic.
“I’m not sure what the ingredient is on European nights here, but they’re always very special. Throughout the history of this club we have had some cracking nights and we will try our best to make that happen again.”