Park out to make amends
Park Ji-Sung aims to use the personal heartache he suffered in Moscow to spur him on in Rome.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 12/05/09 12:24pm
Park Ji-Sung has admitted that he is still wary of his involvement in the UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona despite assurances from manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 28-year-old's cautious approach is understandable after he was sensationally left out of the squad for the penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea in Moscow last year by manager Sir Alex Ferguson; a decision made even stranger after the winger had started both legs in the quarter and semi-finals.
But after scoring the opener in the second-leg at Emirates Stadium in this year's semi-final, Ferguson has all but guaranteed Park's place in the starting XI in Rome in two weeks' time.
Despite his manager hinting that the former PSV ace will not suffer a similar fate against Barcelona, Park admits that he isn't taking anything for granted.
"If I play in Rome it would be great because I didn't play last season. But you don't know. There are two weeks left yet," he told the Manchester Evening News.
"I must show on the pitch in that time that I deserve to be in the final. I have to keep my form up and show my ability on the pitch.
"I have heard and read in the media that the manager has said I should be okay for the Champions League final. He has told the press but he hasn't said anything to me.
"So I just will have to do my best in the meantime. I am not going to get excited yet.
Hard to take
"It was hard to take not being in the Moscow team. But all the players want to be in the big games. We all want to be in the Champions League final.
"But so many players have never even reached that stage of the tournament. Some great players have not even had the chance of getting there. But at least I had a chance."
Despite the pain he suffered in Moscow the South Korean always believed that he would get another shot at playing in the final, especially at a club like United.
"It was a big heartbreak but I believed I would get back again with Manchester United. I felt certain it would happen again soon so I comforted myself with that," he added.
"I am certainly at the right club to believe I could get back again.
"No European Cup winner has ever retained the Champions League and not many winners have actually got back to the final but I never lost faith that United could do it and I might have a chance again.
"I have never lost the belief that I would play in a Champions League final. I knew we could get there. Now we are back and I just hope it is different for me this time.
"But I won't believe anything until the night. Up until then I will still be proving myself on the pitch."