That's harsh, Roy! England boss writes off United's chances of beating Real (and he doesn't fancy Arsenal either…)
13:56 GMT, 19 February 2013
14:03 GMT, 19 February 2013
Roy Hodgson does not expect another English triumph in the Champions League this year, claiming his favourites for the title come from Spain and Germany.
Hodgson has picked Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich as his top tips to lift the European Cup at Wembley in May, dismissing Arsenal and Manchester United’s hopes.
Speaking to an Italian newspaper, the England manager also said he had been impressed by the progress made at Juventus since their return to the top.
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‘My favourites are Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern,’ said Hodgson. ‘Juventus is working well, too.’
Juve are virtually into the last eight after winning 3-0 at Celtic in the first leg of their last-16 encounter but he does not rate the chances of Arsenal, who take on Bayern Munich at the Emirates tonight, or Manchester United, runaway Barclays Premier League leaders, who drew 1-1 with Real in Madrid last week.
‘Arsenal and Manchester United have been unlucky with the draw,’ said Hodgson, during a lengthy interview with Gianfelice Facchetti, son of legendary Inter Milan defender Giacinto, who died in seven years ago.
His views are in line with the fear that the Premier League clubs have lost their stranglehold having dominated Europe for a few years.
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In 2008, three of the four Champions League semi-finalists were from England but this year, for the second successive season, only two have qualified for the last 16.
Despite this and his acceptance that there is a diminishing pool of homegrown talent in the Premier League, Hodgson told Gazzetta’s Extra Time that he was optimistic about the future for the national team.
‘The win against Brazil was very important,’ said the England boss. ‘I am confident we can improve. We are finding the right balance between the old and new generations.
Jack Wilshere is a fantastic talent for the future. He lost a year through injuries but he is fit.’
Top tips: Hodgson has also backed Barcelona and Juventus to impress
He also said England fans were pleased to see an Englishman at the helm after the years under Fabio Capello and Sven Goran Eriksson.
‘The fans are happy and I suppose it is because the English team have an English manager and optimism is good because we have some young players,’ said Hodgson.
‘We had good managers but I think in a country with such important football history as England, Italy or Germany, the fans are more critical with a foreign manager. I knew this was the reality because I was national team coach in foreign countries.’