15 Aug 2009

Sir Alex says Manchester United are ready

3:15 pm on 15 August 2009

Sir Alex Ferguson insists there will be no hangover from Manchester United's crushing Champions League final defeat as his side begin life without Cristiano Ronaldo in their Premier League opener against Birmingham on Sunday.

Ferguson admitted in the close-season that the pain of May's defeat to Barcelona in Rome's Stadio Olimpico took a long while to ease as he relaxed with his family on holiday in the south of France.

Yet he is convinced his players will be more than capable of putting it behind them as well as adapt to being without the talismanic Ronaldo in the wake of his STG80 million ($A158 million) world record move to Real Madrid in June.

Few teams could cope with such a loss, but Ferguson admits he is excited at the young talent emerging at Old Trafford and curious to discover how United tackle another season of challenges without Portugal international Ronaldo - their leading goalscorer for the past two seasons.

Ferguson believes facing newly-promoted Birmingham will be the acid test of whether or not the club was right to prepare for the new campaign with a long trip to the Far East as well as a mini-tournament in Munich.