Sir Alex Ferguson is aiming to mount a successful defence of Manchester United’s Champions League crown.
Ferguson believes his relatively young side can only improve after their penalty shoot-out victory against Chelsea, and has set his sights on winning next year’s competition.
“Defending the European Cup is not an easy thing to do but I think the team is good enough. They will improve next year,” said the United boss.
“We’re delighted. It’s my first victory in a penalty shoot-out apart from the Charity Shield. I’ve lost three with Aberdeen and three with United so this is seventh-time lucky.
United snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after Chelsea skipper John Terry failed to convert the spot kick that would have brought the trophy to Stamford Bridge. Terry lost his footing in the slippery conditions and his effort struck the post.
“The slip by Terry gave us an opening and I thought we would win it then,” continued Ferguson.
“We were fantastic in the first half but the goal gave them an impetus and they were the better team in the second half. But in extra-time, I think we were the better team. It was tight and there were some fantastic moments.”
Ferguson highlighted Van der Sar and also paid tribute to Paul Scholes, who broke his nose in a clash with Claude Makelele but continued.
He said: “His penalty save was not an accident. We knew where certain players would put their kicks but the last penalty comes down to experience.”
Of Scholes, who missed the 1999 Champions League final through suspension, he said: “The disappointment of ’99 has gone now for him. He was very groggy at half-time and we had to give him some tablets.
“I’m delighted for the boy. He is a fantastic person. People like Scholes, (Ryan) Giggs and (Gary) Neville know what Man United means. Scholes and Giggs will contribute next season, if not in as many games.”
Ferguson,who reminded his players before last night’s game of their responsibility to the memory of the 1958 Munich tragedy, also suggested that fate had played its part in last night’s triumph.
Five of the survivors from Munich were in the Luzhniki stadium to witness the victory.
Ferguson said: “We had a cause which was very important. People with causes are difficult to battle against and I think fate was playing its part. I feel very, very proud.”