Alex Ferguson is relishing Tuesday’s Champions League Group D game against Lyon at Old Trafford as he prepares for his 1,000th match as Manchester United manager.

“It’s the perfect game for it, the European tie,” he told a news conference on Monday.

“Some of my greatest moments have been in European matches and hopefully we’ll have another one tomorrow.”

Ferguson felt he had changed as a manager during an18-year reign at United.

“Delegation is probably the biggest change,” he said. “When I arrived I had only eight staff and now I have 36.

“Physically, I have changed, obviously, and I have also mellowed a lot.”

Ferguson said the format of the Champions League was a huge improvement on the former European Cup.

“What we have now is all the great names in European competition together,” he said.

“That makes it extremely difficult to win in the competition but it is what you want to be involved in.”

“In terms of the general history of this club we should be trying to win it (the European Cup) the same number of times as the likes of Bayern Munich and Ajax (Amsterdam),” Ferguson said.

“We know how difficult it is but that is the challenge we have.”

Ferguson cited a Champions League match at Juventus in 1996 which he had used as a barometer of his team’s development.

“When we first went there we were intimidated by their name and their ground,” he said.

“They were one of the most powerful teams in Europe at the time and it was too much for us.

“But we used it as a yard-stick and next time we went over there we won.”