Guillermo Franco recalls high of Villarreal Champions League tie at Old Trafford ahead of West Ham's clash with Manchester United

Franco almost found the net with Villarreal

Versatile West Ham United forward Guillermo Franco has reminisced over last year's Champions League tie between Manchester United and Villarreal prior to the Hammers' Old Trafford visit on Tuesday evening.

Franco, 33, almost got himself on the scoresheet during the 0-0 draw last season, and believes the key to triumph in Manchester will be down to "intelligent play".

He recalled on the club's official website: "I played at Old Trafford last season in the Champions League, and the game finished zero-zero. I remember having one opportunity. The ball was crossed to me by Angel Lopez and I flicked it with my right foot behind my left leg and it came back off the inside of the post and into the arms of the goalkeeper.

"It was a very good result for Villarreal last season. We played very well and played a very intelligent game."

The Mexican, capped 20 times, continued: "I think when you play against Manchester United at Old Trafford, the team has to play intelligently.

"You can't just defend, because if you give the initiative to Manchester United, it's impossible. We had this problem when we played Manchester United at home, because we sat too deep and gave them the initiative.

"On Tuesday, I think it is necessary that we play intelligently, not sitting back and waiting for Manchester United. I think we have an opportunity to win this game, but if we sit back, it will be impossible."

Adding to the praise bestowed upon Wayne Rooney of late, Franco labelled the Englishman "fantastic".

"It's normal to speak about Rooney every day because he's scoring a lot of goals now, but of course he is a fantastic player, a fantastic striker, not only for his goals. He works and runs so much for the team, he holds the ball, passes it and creates chances for his team. He's a very good player. I don't know if he's the best in the world, but he's a fantastic player.

"Berbatov is unbelievable. He's very, very intelligent. He doesn't run and he doesn't sweat, but he's always in the right position. Rooney supports him and they work well together. I think his technique is also fantastic when he has the ball."