Silvestre eyes improvement
By Phil Jackson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Mikael Silvestre believes Man Utd will avenge last season's European disappointments.
Mikael Silvestre believes Manchester United will avenge last season's UEFA Champions League disappointments this term.
Speaking ahead of the Premiership leaders' much anticipated opening group clash with Celtic on Wednesday, the French defender is optimistic about his side's chances in the competition.
The Red Devils fell at the group stages last year, but with World Cup experience gained by many of his team-mates, and the addition of England international Michael Carrick, he believes United can make a big improvement this time round.
"It is amazing to see how much more mature the players are," Silvestre explained.
"You can see a big difference from the end of last season to the beginning of this one and we are definitely better equipped now.
"What happened last year was a big disappointment for all of us. For a club of Manchester United's size, it was a very early exit and we do not want it to happen again.
"But, if we start in the Champions League like we have in the Premiership, we should be okay."
With Cristiano Ronaldo suspended, United welcome back Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes into the fold after their suspensions, although Scholes remains a doubt because of a dead leg.
Rooney will be looking to improve on his surprising European record that shows he has not scored in the competition since his stunning debut day hat-trick against Fenerbahce two years ago.
But Sir Alex Ferguson, a former Rangers player, is undeterred by the figures and is just happy to have his inspirational young gun available for selection again.
"I don't think you could use that to put a question mark against him," Ferguson smiled.
"In any season, strikers have periods when they don't score.
"All I know is Wayne has the same energy and enthusiasm he has always had. He needs to get back playing again and he is keen to do so."
The Glasgow-born Scot has also dismissed talk that he will field a weakened team, with respect to the challenge of Arsenal in the league at the weekend, as United look to fight on all fronts again this term.