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Moyes quietly confident

Giggs: We’re not underdogs, we’re United

Veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs says Manchester United can set aside their patchy league form and push Bayern all the way when two giants of the European game go head-to-head on Tuesday night. “Bayern are a fantastic team, the holders and the favourites in most people’s eyes,” the 40-year-old said at the obligatory pre-match press conference. “But we’ve had so many great nights in Europe. We see ourselves not as underdogs but as Manchester United at home in the Champions League.”

Red Devils boss David Moyes also thinks his men can rise to the occasion and upset the form book. “We’re as good as anyone on our day,” insisted the Scot, hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson to take the helm at the start of the season but who has struggled to cope with the suffocating legacy bequeathed him by his illustrious predecessor. “My players are all desperate to play. All the players want to be involved in the big games. We want to win it as much as Bayern.”

Moyes is clearly relishing the challenge and looking forward to a tactical battle with FCB boss Pep Guardiola. “I took on the job because of the games like this,” the former Everton manager said, “this is the first time I’ve come up against Guardiola, and I confidently expect there to be many more contests in the future.”

Respect for holders FCB

Both the United supremo and Giggs, who has more than 650 appearances for the Red Devils to his name, expressed great respect for Tuesday’s opponents. “They’re the holders and they’re having a fantastic season,” the midfielder commented, “it’s a game between two massive clubs with great histories who play football the correct way.” Moyes agreed but urged his men not to be overawed: “Congratulations to Bayern on winning the Bundesliga. We’ve said many times we’re up against a great side, but United have risen to the task in the past, and we have the players to do it again.”

Although unwilling to reveal details of his line-up or tactical thinking, Moyes strongly hinted at a cautious approach to the first leg on Tuesday, despite a worrying string of injuries to key defenders. “We undoubtedly have defensive issues and we’ll have to make one or two changes,” the 50-year-old admitted. “I know it’s a cliché but it’s a two-legged contest. We have to be mindful we need to go to Germany with an opportunity still open to us.” By contrast, Giggs is more optimistic of the English Premier League champions upsetting the odds: “I’d love us to go to Germany on the back of a win.”

The 40-year-old is the sole survivor of the legendary 1999 Champions League final, dramatically won by United with two stoppage-time goals. However, it was too long ago to be held up as an inspiration for today’s players, the versatile midfielder smiled. “Some of the lads don’t know anything about 1999. And so much has changed – the players, obviously. Apart from myself.”

Chris Hamley at Old Trafford for