Byline: CHRIS WHEELER reports from Istanbul
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 Airport. Nineteen years after Sir Alex Ferguson and his players faced what he admitted last night 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 while others lit flares outside the building. 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 yesterday 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 like it in what is officially the loudest sports stadium in the world. 'Apart from Nick Powell and Alex Buttner a lot of the players have experience of playing in front of big crowds,' said Ferguson.
'It's completely different for Powell. It will be his first game at this level, but his temperament will be important.' 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. Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel believes that experience helped galvanise United in Europe, and hopes tonight could have a similar effect on this team. …