Nani not afraid of 'big teams'

PA Sport
Nani (centre)
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Nani (centre)

Manchester United winger Nani insists his club's belief they will go all the way in this season's Champions League remains unshaken, despite knowing they are unlikely to advance as group winners.

Tuesday's 2-2 draw with Benfica means the Portuguese giants will top Group C on their head-to-head record against United if both sides win their final matches and finish level on 12 points - meaning United will face a group winner in the knockout stages - a list that could potentially include Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

But despite drawing three times in their five European games so far, and not beating anyone other than Otelul, winger Nani insists United can make their presence felt, saying: "If we do finish second and get a big team that is no problem for us. If you have ambitions to get to the Champions League final you are always going to get a top side."

He added: "We are still confident."

The Portuguese international agreed with Sir Alex Ferguson's assessment that, after falling behind to an early Phil Jones own goal, United had done well to get their noses in front and, if they had held on for more than a few seconds until Pablo Aimar struck, they would have gone on to win.

"We deserved more from the game," he said. "We played some fantastic football and created a lot of chances. We should have held the lead for longer though. We are a bit down at that."

Ferguson has certainly not forgotten it was a two-goal lead thrown away against Basle on matchday two that has left his side in a more uncomfortable position than they would have wished.

Few expect United to suffer a defeat against the same side that would tip them out of the competition at the same stage as six years ago, but Ferguson is wary.

"The reminder to us when we go to Basle is that we threw that game away," he said. "There is no question about that. We have an opportunity to correct that freak result on their own ground.

"It is not going to be easy but maybe I will have a few more players back and my selections will be wider and more varied."

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