Hernandez, Man Utd brace up for Europa League challenge

Updated: 15 February 2012 19:44 IST

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez says the English giants are determined to launch a full-blooded assault on the Europa League as they prepare to make their debut in the competition on Thursday.

Hernandez, Man Utd brace up for Europa League challenge

London:

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez says the English giants are determined to launch a full-blooded assault on the Europa League as they prepare to make their debut in the competition on Thursday.

After the shock of failing to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, United travel to Amsterdam this week to face Ajax in their first ever Europa League game.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has pledged to field a full-strength side in the competition after initially describing the tournament as a "penalty" for missing out on the Champions League.

And Hernandez is adamant that United are determined to go all the way in the Europa League, which climaxes with a final in Bucharest on May 9.

The Mexican striker said he was looking forward to United's meeting with Ajax, four-time winners of the European Cup.

"Both teams have come out of the Champions League and they both have a great history," Hernandez said

"We have won a lot of European Cups between us, so it will be a very interesting game.

"We need to get used to the fact we are not in the Champions League this season.

"And the history of Manchester United is such that it doesn't matter which competition you are in, we want to win it, no matter who else is in it, or whether it is an important trophy for other teams."

Ferguson meanwhile said United's first leg plans in Amsterdam had been boosted by the fact his team did not have a match in this weekend's FA Cup following their exit from the competition.

"The great thing is that we don't have a game on the Saturday, so I can play my strongest team - and I will play my strongest team," said Ferguson, who is looking forward to playing Ajax for the first time.

"It's a bit of a bonus for us. It's amazing that in 55 years' involvement in Europe, we've never played each other.

"The name of Ajax still has that aura about it. They are not having a great time at the moment and their directors have resigned, but I think playing against United they'll be well motivated.

"Like ourselves, they have always produced good players and played good football.

"We definitely want to win this tournament. I am treating this seriously. We're going to have a go. The thing is to look forward to it. It's still European football, it's still a good standard of football."

Topics : Football Wayne Rooney Alex Ferguson Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal Javier Hernandez Balcazar
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