Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said he will turn to Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho for advice on how his side should approach their Champions League final against Barcelona at Wembley later this month.
Manchester United cruised their way into the final after overwhelming Bundesliga outfit Schalke 4-1 at Old Trafford last night to complete a 6-1 aggregate win.
A brace from Anderson and a goal apiece from Antonio Valencia and Darron Gibson secured United victory and confirmed the line-up for the May 28 showdown.
While a fervent admirer of Pep Guardiola and Barcelona, Ferguson has not come up against the La Liga leaders since they last met in the 2009 Champions League final.
Mourinho, meanwhile, has played the Catalan club five times this season alone and will doubtless have invaluable advice for United.
“I speak to him quite a lot and I spoke to him last week,” Ferguson said, when asked about Mourinho. “Real Madrid are a different team from us so I think we will depend on our own knowledge of Barcelona. But the experience that Real Madrid have and from Jose’s angle – you always take information from that because he’s always very helpful like that.
“I don’t think we should be going there lacking in confidence. We’ll be playing a fantastic team but we can’t be frightened out of our skins. We have to find a solution to playing against them.”
Barcelona beat Real 3-1 across the two legs of their Champions League semi-final but the aftermath of their victory has been marred by suggestions from Mourinho and some of his players that the Catalan club were beneficiaries of a sinister conspiracy to fix European competitions in their favour.
Asked for his view on the matter, and whether or not he was concerned about officials showing a hint of preferential treatment at Wembley, Ferguson steered clear on empathising with Mourinho.
“At this moment in time I don’t think that’s an issue with us,” he said. “I think a final at Wembley should represent the qualities and histories and traditions of both clubs.
“It’s a different set of conditions between Real Madrid and Barcelona because of the tribalism of both clubs in Spain. They’ve always been the two biggest clubs in Spain and therefore the rivalry is intense.
“Many things happened in both games of the semi-final that you say to yourself, ‘Well I hope that doesn’t happen at Wembley’. But we think it should be a good final.”
Ferguson also declined invitations to characterise the Wembley showdown as an opportunity for his players to avenge their defeat in Rome two years ago.
“Revenge doesn’t come into it,” Ferguson said. “What does come into is that this is another opportunity for Manchester United to win a European trophy. I’ve always said that other clubs have done better than us, and we should have done better in Europe.
“You have to admire the way Barcelona play, they play with great style, they’ve got fantastic players. But we’ve got a job to do and we’ll find a solution.”