Hell No bother! Ferguson insists Man United are used to Turkish atmospheres
23:43 GMT, 19 November 2012
Manchester United avoided a predictably hostile reception on their arrival in Turkey as hundreds of Galatasaray fans tried to recreate the infamous 'Welcome to Hell' scenes at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.
Nineteen years after Sir Alex Ferguson and his players faced what he admitted was a 'quite frightening' experience, United were directed through a private terminal and missed the mayhem that awaited them.
Fanatical supporters crammed into the airport's arrival hall – some chanting anti-Leeds songs in reference to the two English fans who were stabbed to death here 12 years ago – while others set flares alight outside the building.
Welcome: Galatasaray supporters light flares as they wait for Manchester United
There will be no hiding place in the Turk Telekom Arena tonight, however, when Ferguson sends out a young side with first place in Group H, and qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League, already guaranteed.
Many of United's star players have been left at home and eight of the 21-man squad that flew out of Manchester have not even played in this competition before, including former Crewe midfielder Nick Powell who is expected to start.
Even England defender Phil Jones, who should make his first appearance of the season after injury, is unlikely to have experienced anything quite like it in what is officially the loudest sports stadium in the world.
Others have played in Turkey before against the likes of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Bursaspor, and Ferguson is hoping that their experience will help against a team who still hope to clinch second place.
'We dodged the greeting from the fans,' said Ferguson. 'We came underground! 'In 1993 it was incredible, quite frightening, but we have been a few times now and are used to the Turkish atmosphere. It is fanatical, but it is no issue for us.
'Apart from Nick Powell and Alex Buttner a lot of the players have experience of playing in front of big crowds.
'It's completely different for Powell. It will be his first game at this level, but his temperament will be important.
don't consider it a gamble, but we do consider our reputation and being
fair to the teams in the group.' When United went out to Galatasaray
after a goalless draw at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium in 1993, Eric Cantona
and Bryan Robson were attacked by riot police in the players' tunnel.
We can cope: Sir Alex Ferguson is not worried about a daunting atmosphere
Where and when
Kick-off: 7.45pm at the Turk Telekom Arena.
TV: LIVE on Sky Sports 4 from 7.30pm.
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)
Goalkeeper Peter Schemichel believes
that experience helped galvanise United in Europe, and hopes tonight
could have a similar effect on this team.
was the foundation for what we managed to do in the Champions League
later on,' said Schmeichel. 'It was something we had been through and we
could deal with it of our own accord.
'So Istanbul, to me, was a point of
reference. Tomorrow could be another.'
Fear: Galatasaray fans tried to recreate the welcome from 1993
Ferguson revealed that Shinji
Kagawa could still be out for another month as the Japan international
makes a slower than expected recovery from his knee injury.
was injured against Braga four weeks ago, and Ferguson said: 'He hasn't
started any outside work. Overall, he will probably be looking at six
to seven weeks since the injury.'
Up for it: Tom Cleverley is also expected to feature