Manchester: Manchester United may have to rely on increased noise levels rather than current form to make their home advantage count when they host Real Sociedad in Champions League Group A, on Wednesday.
Old Trafford will be trying out a new ‘singing section’ at the stadium, with up to 1,400 of their loudest fans sitting in an area of the ground normally reserved for away supporters in order to improve the atmosphere because the acoustics are better there.
The move should lift spirits at Old Trafford, where a previous reputation as a rock-solid fortress has been shattered with the English champions managing just one win in the Premier League this season. Their recent European form is little better with four defeats in their previous seven home games.
As European heavyweights Juventus and Real Madrid prepare for their match at the Bernabeu, Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon has questioned the Spanish side’s ‘galactico’ transfer policy.
“The philosophy of 10 years ago remains the same, buy great champions, entertain the fans and maintain the historic prestige of Real Madrid,” Buffon said in an interview with Spanish a sports daily.
“But the reality is that in football, above all now, that’s not enough to win,” he added. “It’s better to have a project, balance and patience. Money is a good starting point but it’s not enough in itself.”
Real have splashed more than 600 million euros on players over the past five years in a bid to secure the 10th European crown — known as the ‘decima’ in Spain — they have been chasing since they last won the Champions League in 2002.
United, meanwhile, are level on four points with group leaders Shakhtar Donetsk after two games before meeting Sociedad, who have no points and are enduring a start to their league season as shaky as that experienced by David Moyes’ men.
“I feel that this is an important one for us,” the United manager said on the club website. “If we could win this one, it would give us a strong position in the group. We have to go out there and take advantage of the home game and try to get a result.”
In Berlin, holders Bayern Munich are likely to have fit-again pair Franck Ribery and Mario Goetze available to heap more misery on Champions League Group D strugglers Viktoria Plzen.
“The injury was not that bad,” Ribery told reporters. “I wanted to play against Mainz but the doctor said it would be too big a risk. I hope I can play in the Champions League,” added the playmaker, who has been in sparkling form for last season’s Champions League-Bundesliga-German Cup treble winners. (Reuters)