Gross confident Basel can carry out 'Mission Impossible'


BASEL: Basel coach Christian Gross is refusing to accept that his team’s Champions League dream is over, despite admitting yesterday that it was a a ‘Mission Impossible’ for them to reach to the quarter-finals. 

Basel face Juventus at St Jakob Park today in their final Group D match knowing they must win by 4-0 or five clear goals to give themselves a chance of going through. 

Even if Basel achieved what would be a remarkable result, Spanish side Deportivo Coruna, who are already out, would send Juve through to the knock-out stages at the Swiss side’s expense if they beat Manchester United at the Riazor Stadium. 

“On paper you would say this is Mission Impossible,” Gross told reporters. “But nothing is impossible. 

“We know it will be very difficult because Juventus can play in a very results-orientated fashion when they need to. They have a world class team and that doesn’t help. 

“At first sight you would say it is impossible, but in these situations players can feel they are set free and they can find extra energy for the special extraordinary performance.” 

Basel became the first Swiss side to make the second phase of the competition this year, winning through with a cavalier style which dumped Liverpool out of the competition. 

Gross knows a similar all-out attacking display is needed against Juventus. 

“There is only one way for us to play,” he said. “We can only attack. And for us this match represents something special for our experience this season. 

“It is our last chance and we know it is only a slim chance. For us a match like this is worth three months training.” 

Although Gross remains confident in the ability of his own team to gain the result needed, he is less confident that Manchester United can avoid defeat in their trip to Spain. 

United manager Alex Ferguson rested a number of his first-team regulars in last week’s 1-1 draw with Basel at Old Trafford and has named several inexperienced players in his squad for the trip to Spain. 

“I expect Manchester will play with a mixed team,” said Gross.  

“Manchester United never go anywhere to lose, they hate to lose, but that Spanish side has won more points in 2003 in the Spanish league than Real Madrid. 

“Deportivo are a side in-form. It will not be easy for Manchester. Deportivo were very unlucky against Juve.” 

But Basel’s Argentine striker Julio Hernan Rossi believes the Swiss club’s record in Europe this season proves they have the ability to beat Marcello Lippi’s Juventus side. 

“It’s not important how many I score,” Rossi said.  

“It is how we play as a team and how we do in the match that is important. We know it is possible.” – Reuters 

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