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Ferguson sure of ’99 encore

Manchester: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is confident his team have gained enough experience of European football to repeat their Champions League success of 1999.

United, so far unbeaten in Group F in this year’s competition, take on Olympiakos Piraeus of Greece on Wednesday and the English Premier League side need just one point to be sure of qualification to the second phase.

“We are showing our experience in Europe now,” Ferguson said on Tuesday.

“We are showing patience and quickness of play at times, we have won 5-2 and 4-0 at home and the 2-1 win at (Bayer) Leverkusen was a tremendous result.”

Although United’s crushing home victories over Maccabi Haifa and Olympiakos have left the 1999 champions on the brink of second-phase qualification, Ferguson refuses to underestimate the threat posed this week by the Greek champions.

“We only need a draw against Olympiakos and then we are through, but we are going there to win,” he said.

“But it will be a bit of a cauldron and the atmosphere will be electric. They are playing in their own stadium this time because the national stadium is being refurbished for the Olympics.

“It will be a marvellous atmosphere, they have a lot of good experienced players in their team — as we have found out over the last two years — and we are going to have to perform.”

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