Ferguson still desperate for European glory

LONDON - Even though Sir Alex Ferguson has now confirmed Manchester United as England's most successful club in both main domestic competitions, the Scot still has unfinished business - in Europe.

Ferguson has made it plain that, even though he turns 70 on the last day of the year, he has no intention of retiring from the United job he has held since 1986.

He remains driven not only by the task of improving their record haul of 19 English titles and 11 FA Cups but by the desire to catch up with the likes of Real Madrid, AC Milan, Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich and his old nemesis Liverpool, who have all been European champions more times than United.

Although even he would have to admit that equalling or bettering Real Madrid's record of nine European Cups is beyond him, Ferguson is still hugely ambitious heading into the May 28 Champions League final against Barcelona.

"I think it is an area we want to do better, we should have won more I think, we're in another final so we've got a chance," he said.

"The expectation from my point of view has always been very high in Europe because you do get envious of the other great teams - Real Madrid, Milan, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, and Ajax," he added.

"We are looking to get parity with those clubs. It is where we should be."

A 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers on Saturday secured United's 19th league title, taking them out on their own ahead of Liverpool.

SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE

With that significant milestone passed, Ferguson has the chance to improve on what he sees as their relatively poor record of three European Cups.

The reasons for United's relatively poor record in Europe are unclear.

They struggled with the tactical demands of the competition at times, going out on the away goals rule and failing to beat opponents they were expected to overcome including German sides Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen and French team Monaco.

They did win the competition in 1999 and 2008 and victory over Barcelona in their third final in four seasons would make United European champions for a fourth time, bringING Ferguson level with the late Bob Paisley of Liverpool as the only other man to win three European Cups.

He would also emulate United's other great Scottish manager Matt Busby, who won their first European Cup at Wembley in 1968.