Manchester United will face Galatasaray on Wednesday evening in this seasons Champions League curtain raiser at Old Trafford.
With Manchester United and Galatasaray recording 4-0 victories at the weekend, confidence will be high in both camps. I managed to catch up with a Galatasaray fan to see what the feelings are ahead of the game from their side.
Please introduce yourself to the readers.
My name is Alican and I run the Galatasaray Formaları Blog (Galatasaray Shirts Blog). We gather information and write about the shirt history and shirt culture of Galatasaray. We have a great photo archive of Galatasaray from the foundation of the club to the present. Whereas there are blogs or websites like ours seen in England, our blog is the first in Turkey. We try to narrate our shirt culture and history to our readers.
Galatasaray are playing very good right now, winning 4-0 away at the weekend, and are top of the league. Is this a surprise?
Actually, this is not a surprise. In the begining of last season the clubs management changed and our former manager Fatih Terim has been brought back. He knows the Galatasaray players very well. He was in charge of Galatasaray when the club won the UEFA Cup and Super Cup in 2000.
This summer, we made transfers that filled in the gaps of the last season whilst protecting the core of our success from last year. Right now, the team is in a good harmony with the system, manager and players and players all working well together.
At the same time, the club did very well in the transfer market. The players brought in fit in the new system that Fatih Terim is trying to instigate at the club. When we had the players who fit the system, we had a good season and obtained fine results in the Turkish League.
The last time we played Galatasaray was in 1994 when you had “Welcome to Hell” banners. What do you remember about that game?
We were very young during the first games with Manchester United. Besides the football the things I can’t forget about at that times are the Ali Sami Yen stadium and our supporters. Manchester United at the time was one of the best clubs of the world.
Nevertheless, our supporters in coalescence with the team, showed that Galatasaray was not an easy rival. Our successes were first and foremost because of our supporters. For this reason, it was an unforgetable memory of my life. “Welcome to Hell” banners were unfurled to describe the atmosphere to Manchester United.
You haven’t played in the UEFA Champions League since 2006/7. Are you worried you will be overawed by the occasion?
We are not worried because we have a manager who has a great knowledge of European football. As far as both national teams and football club bases are concerned, he has won cups in Europe as a manager.
We have system that hasn’t been changed since last year and we have many experienced players who are accustomed to European football.
If we stick to this system in Champions League matches and if we play the usual football as we play in the Turkish League, I think we can get good results. Our manager has the ability to motivate the team to play the usual football and he will urge the team to stay calm.
Do you think you can beat Manchester United?
Even if Manchester United have some missing players the remaining ones are still world class. Manchester United is a dangerous team at Old Trafford.
I don’t think you will start this years Champions League with anything but a win forManchester United, you are clear favourites in the first match.
However I think we will be able to defeat Manchester United in our home stadium, the Ali Sami Yen Arena.
Who do you think will be Manchester United’s most dangerous player and Galatasaray’s most dangerous player?
Robin van Persie is the most dangerous player of Manchester United. If he recovers from his injury completely in time for our match, he will definitely score. Our most dangerous player is Selcuk Inan, a play-maker who can split defences with his through balls and intelligent passing. He can play both defensive and offensive. I’m hoping the through balls he passes and freekicks he takes will be effective in Old Trafford.
What do you think the score will be?
Manchester United will win 2-1 in the first game at Old Trafford but we will win 3-1 at home