Fergie's buoyant United ready to bash Barca | sports | Hindustan Times
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Fergie's buoyant United ready to bash Barca

sports Updated: May 17, 2009 18:01 IST

AFP
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Sir Alex Ferguson has warned Barcelona that Manchester United are "bouncing" into the Champions League final after wrapping up the Premier League title.

A goalless draw with Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday was enough for Ferguson's side to secure the league for a record equalling 18th time.

Having sealed a third successive title, as well as the League Cup and Club World Cup this season, Ferguson has now set his sights on bringing the curtain down on a hugely successful campaign with a second consecutive European Cup triumph when United face Barca in Rome on May 27.

Before then United face relegation-threatened Hull in their final league game of the season next weekend, but Ferguson admitted his players were already looking forward to facing the Spanish league leaders.

"Now we've won the league we're bouncing into the final in Rome," said Ferguson as he savoured his 11th English title since taking charge of United in 1986.

"It's a game everyone at this club is looking forward to and rightly so. But we will enjoy this moment for now.

"This is a terrific achievement and I have to praise the character and spirit of my players. They have been terrific."

Several players who featured against Arsenal are likely to be rested for United's final league game ahead of the showpiece European final.

Edwin van der Sar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez are set to sit out the match at Hull.

Ferguson, who sent his brother Martin to scout Barca against Mallorca on Sunday, is 68 in December and there have been suggestions that he is ready to call time on his managerial career.

But the Scot insisted that was not the case and he is already determined to steer United to a record 19th title, one more than bitter rivals Liverpool.

"I am not contemplating it (retirement)," Ferguson said. "I am definitely not contemplating it. I am going to carry on and my health will tell me when to quit."

Ferguson admitted Liverpool had been formidable opponents who had put his side under severe pressure after winning 4-1 at Old Trafford in March.

"They have done well," Ferguson said. "They had a period when they won 4-1 here. That was a travesty of a result, because it was never a 4-1 result.

"But they gained great impetus from that and we didn't recover, we lost the next game (at Fulham).

"That gave Liverpool the scent and, credit to them, they took it and they battled away."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger paid tribute to Ferguson and his side on winning the title before promising United that the Gunners will provide his champions with a sterner test next season.

United were forced to endure some nervous moments against Wenger's side before getting their hands on the title.

"What he (Ferguson) has done is exceptional and I congratulate him," said Wenger.

"It's fantastic what they have done this season. They have won the League Cup, made the semi-finals of the FA Cup and have the Champions League final to look forward to. Their overall achievement is remarkable."

Although there is one game of the season remaining, Arsenal will finish outside the top three for the third time in four seasons.

But Wenger still insists Arsenal's youthful squad is heading in the right direction.

"We have been remarkably consistent after November and I don't think we've got the credit we deserved," added the Frenchman. "But we'll be back challenging next season."