views

Rio: 'We'll be back stronger'

RIO FERDINAND insists his Manchester United team-mates are man enough to handle Wednesday night&rsquo;s crushing Champions League final defeat to Barcelona &ndash; and has backed them to come back stronger.<br /><br />Dejected Ferdinand flew back to England with the rest of the United squad yesterday after failing in their bid to become the first side to win back-to-back titles under the Champions League format.<br /><br />Theorists suggest the nature of the 2-0 defeat to the stylish Spanish side would prove a setback to the newly-crowned Premier League champions, but the England defender says his men can deal with the disappointment.<br /><br />&ldquo;If we had won it would have been an unbelievable end to the season but we knew if we lost we would be finishing on a low no matter what we had achieved before,&rdquo; Ferdinand said.<br /><br />&ldquo;We were not silly enough to think the garden will always be rosy. We are grown men. We can handle it. We just have to brush ourselves down and come back stronger.&rdquo;<br /><br />The fall-out into United&rsquo;s below-par display at the Stadio Olimpico continued yesterday with some even criticising the tactics of manager Sir Alex Ferguson.<br /><br />Ferdinand dismissed any such theories, laying the blame solely on individual errors, but the defender was quick to add that the belief of the team has not been affected.<br /><br />He added: &ldquo;In a Champions League final, if you do not play well, either as individuals or a collective unit, you do not deserve to win.<br /><br /><br />&ldquo;But the belief is still there. You do not lose all that by getting beaten in one match. We need strength of character now but we have it in abundance.&rdquo;