Manchester United losing in final to Barcelona was sad, but Reds can win Champions League this season, claims Valencia

by Harry Robinson

Antonio Valencia believes Manchester United can reach the UEFA Champions League final for the second time in his career at the club.

The Ecuadorian was part of the squad who were emphatically beaten by one of football’s greatest ever sides in FC Barcelona at Wembley in 2011. They had lost to the same opposition just two years before in Rome, having lifted their third European title in 2008 with a penalty shoot-out victory against Chelsea in Moscow.

Man United haven’t had success in the Champions League since, but were victorious in the UEFA Europa League last campaign, seeing off Ajax in the final, 2-0.

Valencia admitted his sadness at not being able to beat Barcelona in 2011 and win his first Champions League, but insisted that the Reds have the quality to reach the final again.

“It was a really good final [2011], It was sad not to win but I think we can make it this time,” Valencia said.

“We’re really strong, we know City and Liverpool did well.”

Speaking in a pre-match press conference ahead of United’s Round of 16 first leg trip to Sevilla, Valencia continued, “We’re ready for our match, we will do a good job and the fans will leave happy.”

United’s players have been speaking with great confidence ahead of the match, with Ashley Young claiming that the club can win the Champions League this season, and manager Jose Mourinho stating similar.

Mourinho’s side are far from favourites, but the addition of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in the January transfer window is a great help to their chances. Paul Pogba returning to his magnificent form earlier in the season would be of great help and slightly more fortune with injuries could help United be a surprise contender for European club football’s greatest honour.

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