Fergie warns of Torpedo's counter punch

PUBLISHED: 12:26 20 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:33 03 March 2010

BOBBY Ferguson, the man who was manager of Ipswich when they last played in the UEFA Cup, today backed the Blues to overcome Torpedo Moscow over two legs.

BOBBY Ferguson, the man who was manager of Ipswich when they last played in the UEFA Cup, today backed the Blues to overcome Torpedo Moscow over two legs.

Ferguson, boss when the Town beat Roma 3-1 at Portman Road in September 1982 only to go out of the competition on aggregate, was coach under Bobby Robson when they won the competition in 1981.

"Over two legs I think that Ipswich will be too strong for Torpedo Moscow," said Ferguson. "You may find that the Russians have good possession but lack penetration. You often see that Russian sides have a tendency to be weak in the air and are vulnerable at set pieces.

"There is also the fact that Russian football is not as strong as it was due to the top international players now playing in other countries."

Ferguson has even had first-hand playing experience against Torpedo. He was the left-back in the Cardiff side that beat the Russians over two legs in the 1965 European Cup Winners Cup campaign.

He warned: "From my knowledge of the Russian game they have very, very good technical players who love the ball. It is important not to push up too early against a side like that. It is wise to try to avoid being caught on the break.

"The Ipswich players must avoid the temptation to dive in. They must stay on their feet. I think that Torpedo will have some very good ball players who can play very swiftly around you. It is so easy to get caught out.

"I certainly fancy Ipswich to do it if they can keep their heads and not get caught out by swift counter-attacks."

Ferguson, whose coaching and tactical skills were so important as Town won the UEFA Cup in 1981, still lives in Ipswich.

He and his wife Ann were honoured guests last month at the 20th reunion dinner for that triumph.

The return of European football to Ipswich is, in the words of Ferguson, "A great thing for the town."

He went on: "The players will enjoy it and the fans will too. Playing European football takes a team away from the usual routine. They go to different parts of the globe and generally gain in experience of life as well as football.

"It will be wonderful if Ipswich can get a great home result and then go on and complete the job in the return. I'll be rooting for them and in George Burley they have someone who has great knowledge of playing in Europe with Ipswich.

"I'm looking forward to a super night with the right result coming for Ipswich."

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