Ferguson: Gala atmosphere won't scare us
Manchester United dodged a Galatasaray welcoming committee in Istanbul on Monday evening - but Sir Alex Ferguson insists a return to 'Hell' poses no problems.
It is 19 years since Ferguson led his newly-crowned English champions into the cauldron of the Ali Sami Yen stadium and ended up crashing out of Europe amid chaotic scenes.
Galatasaray have swapped stadiums since - to the plush Turk Telecom Arena - but their supporters remain some of the most fanatical in Europe. They turned out in vast numbers to await United's arrival, only to discover Ferguson and his players had exited through a separate terminal.
But there will be no escape as the Red Devils look to defend their 100% record in this season's competition. And Ferguson cannot wait.
"We didn't get the greeting by the fans (this time) - we dodged that," said the United boss.
"In 1993 when we came here it was incredible. It was something new and quite frightening. But we've been here a few times since and we're getting used to the Turkish fanaticism and enthusiasm. It's no issue for us."
With almost all his most experienced players - including Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney - remaining behind in Manchester, Darren Fletcher is likely to captain the visitors.
He has only heard stories of Galatasaray - Ryan Giggs could have been the single playing survivor but the Welshman also remained at home - but the midfielder has enough experience of Turkish football to know the best way of dealing with what is to come.
"It'll be hostile - the fans are really passionate," he said. "It's a challenge and something we have to experience. For me it's a new stadium, a new occasion and you want to enjoy the experience. Hopefully that brings out the best in your performance."
With Chris Smalling amongst those not to make the trip, presumably to ensure he is fit to face QPR at Old Trafford on Saturday, Michael Carrick is tipped to partner Scott Wootton in central defence. Phil Jones will get his first start of the season though, an important step after a back injury was followed by knee surgery.