Sir Alex: I want Barca in the final

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has shunned the possibility of another all English Champions League final, revealing he would rather face Barcelona in the Rome final. The holders welcome Porto to Old Trafford on Tuesday night, with Chelsea and Liverpool meeting each other, Arsenal facing Villarreal and Barcelona playing Bayern Munich in the other quarter-finals.

And although Ferguson hopes the teams that make up the semi-finals will reflect well on the English Premier League, he is glad to be able to avoid the Catalan giants until the final.

“Hopefully we will get through to meet Barcelona in the final - and what an unbelievable match that would be,” said the Scot ahead of his side's clash with the Portuguese champions. “Hopefully we will have three English clubs in the semi-finals, a situation that again reflects the quality of our Premier league.

“I’m glad we are in the section of the draw that keeps us away from Barcelona. The Spanish team represent the biggest threat in the competition.” The United boss was full of praise for Pep Guardiola’s charges, adding: “They had a wobble a few weeks ago, but have picked up again and are in terrific form at just the right time." But before he can think about his dream final against Barca, Ferguson’s charges - who have struggled in each of their last three league games - must overcome a dangerous Porto outfit.

The Portuguese side are no strangers to spoiling the party, having ended United’s European dream the last time they visited Old Trafford in 2004 with Jose Mourinho at the helm. Ferguson will have Paul Scholes, Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney available again for the encounter after the trio served bans. However, Rio Ferdinand and Dimitar Berbatov will be missing.

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