Manchester United ready for any of the teams left in Champions League – Fred
Midfielder confident his side can go all the way in Europe ahead of last-eight draw
Manchester United’s Fred: ‘We are prepared for whoever we are drawn against.’ Photograph: Getty Images
Four English teams are in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009, meaning there could be two all-Premier League games in the last eight. Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham are the other English teams with Barcelona, Juventus, Ajax and Porto also through.
Fred, who played a crucial part at Parc des Princes as United eliminated Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16, is not too concerned about what the draw will throw up. “We can’t choose who we play against. In the Champions League they are all big teams and they all represent difficult adversaries, difficult opposition, and they will all be tough games,” he told the club’s website.
“But we are prepared for whoever we are drawn against. We will do our best, we will go all out for victory, and we want to win the Champions League trophy.”
United will have to reverse their quarter-final fixtures if they are drawn at home in the same week as City, Uefa confirmed on Thursday. There is no seeding or country protection for the draw in Nyon, Switzerland, where the route to the Madrid final will be decided.
Uefa said: “Manchester City and Manchester United will not be able to play at home on the same night, nor on consecutive nights, following a decision made by the relevant local authorities.
“Therefore, should both clubs be drawn at home in the same week, the team having finished lower in the domestic league the previous season – in this case Manchester United – will be reversed in accordance with the Uefa club competitions committee principles. Any potential reversal for the semi-finals, for the same reason, would be confirmed after the quarter-finals.”
Ten years ago, the last time there were four English teams in the last eight, Chelsea were paired with Liverpool, while Arsenal and United were kept apart. Chelsea went on to win a classic quarter-final 7-5 on aggregate, having won 3-1 at Anfield before drawing 4-4 at Chelsea. Liverpool scored two quick goals to go 4-3 up in the return leg with seven minutes remaining and were at that point only one goal away from going through but in the end Frank Lampard scored an 89th-minute equaliser to give Chelsea the win.
Despite the presence of four English teams in the quarter-finals that year, Barcelona went on to win the competition, beating United in the final.
Barça beat Lyon 5-1 on Wednesday to reach the last eight and are the bookmakers’ favourites to win the tournament but the defender Gerard Pique insisted they are not feeling any pressure.
“We don’t feel like we are the favourites just because Real Madrid, Bayern and PSG have been eliminated,” he said before adding that they have one big advantage: Lionel Messi. “Having a player like him in the team gives you another level. When the game is at a standstill he appears and swings it our way.”
Barcelona last won the Champions League in 2015, with Real having won the past three.