Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has lauded Welsh winger Ryan Giggs, who will make his 100th European appearance for the club in the last 16 with Lyon. "Only a few players have reached that milestone," said the Scot, paying tribute to the Welsh wing wizard's ability and longevity in the continent's premier club competition.
"Ryan has produced many great moments for us. It's a great occasion for him and we're all proud of him. For me, Ryan has been an absolute model in his time with us," added Ferguson, who was able to rest the 34-year-old - along with Cristiano Ronaldo - in last weekend's 4-0 FA Cup win over of Arsenal.
The fact that both stars are to return against a Lyon side that has never been past the last eight, despite their domestic record of six straight Ligue 1 crowns, ought on paper to put fear into the French, who managed a group stage draw when the sides met at Old Trafford three years ago. But United's French star Patrice Evra said it would be a mistake to go into Wednesday's game believing their rivals, stunned by a weekend league loss at Le Mans, were there for the taking.
"We need to show Lyon a lot of respect. It will be a hard game tomorrow," said Evra, keen to go one better than his final loss with Monaco in 2004 at the hands of a Porto side then coached by Jose Mourinho.
"I think we'll see another Lyon tomorrow. They are playing Manchester United and have nothing to lose. We will respect them as they have won six French league titles on the trot," Evra warned.
"We'll not fall into the trap of thinking we are the favourites and can be complacent. They are in the last 16 so they are a good team," stressed Evra, who described playing alongside someone of Giggs' stature as "a privilege and an honour."
Ferguson said he had seen "some parts" of Lyon's loss at Le Mans, but agreed the French champions would raise their game against one of the favourites. "We know it is a big match for both teams. I think it will be a really good match," the United boss forecast.