By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson is confident his players can rise to the occasion against Lyon.Sir Alex Ferguson is confident his players can rise to the occasion in Manchester United's opening UEFA Champions League group fixture against Lyon.
United tackle the French champions on Wednesday evening on the back of a stuttering start to the new Premiership season.
The early weeks of the campaign have witnessed a combination of injuries and mistakes curtail the team's prospects of keeping pace with champions Arsenal.
The Red Devils did ease past Dinamo Bucharest to reach the Champions League group phase and Ferguson is hopeful the European stage will enable his players to rediscover their best form.
"I've got 20 fit players with me and most of them are internationals," said Ferguson.
"I'm preparing those players to represent us in the best possible way, knowing the big occasions are what they enjoy.
"They do normally excel themselves and tomorrow night is one of those nights.
"Lyon have a fantastic domestic record which they can be rightly proud of and they have been in European football for many years."
The Premiership giants' plans for the contest were further disrupted by Monday's discovery that Gary Neville faces a month out of action with a hairline fracture of the kneecap.
It once again forces Ferguson to reshuffle his defence and the long-serving Scot has lamented the lack of consistency in his selections at the back.
He added: "The continuity of playing with each other is always important.
"On Saturday we had a back four that had never played together and at some points that showed.
"But my concern is not for who we have left behind but the ones who are here."
Mikael Silvestre is the only United defender to have appeared in every match this season and he admits it has been a difficult period for the team's rearguard.
The Frenchman commented: "With injuries and Rio's (Ferdinand) ban it's not been very easy to get ready in a few weeks when you miss so many players.
"So we are going to look to have everybody back as soon as we can."