Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken of his belief that Manchester United have prepared more adequately to face Barcelona than they did for the 2009 final and will not make the mistakes that led to one of the more galling defeats of their modern era.

Ferguson, looking ahead to a match he described as potentially the "final of the decade", said he had learned from his own errors from that night in Rome two years ago when Barcelona put on a masterclass of passing to win 2-0.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who was playing his last game for the club that night, admitted last year that "we got our tactics wrong" but Ferguson, talking at Wembley before his players took part in their final training session, said the rematch will be a much more evenly contested game.

"We were disappointed we lost that game but it's not a matter of revenge. It's a matter of our players' pride and we are very focused this time. Our preparation has been better for this match. I think we maybe made one or two mistakes last time but we will be all right this time, I'm very sure of that."

Ferguson has spoken to José Mourinho to extract some advice about United's opponents from the Real Madrid manager and he also believes it will have helped his players to step away from the pressures of the week and be involved in Gary Neville's testimonial on Tuesday. "That game took the focus away from the final and enabled everyone to relax. It can be a long week up to a final."

Ferguson's belief is that some of his players were not sharp enough in 2009 and that he made the mistake of leaving them for too long without a game in the build-up. On this occasion he believes the planning has been more meticulous. He is also encouraged by having an injury-free squad, although there are indications that Darren Fletcher's lack of sharpness, following his recent virus, may rule him out, just as suspension did in 2009.

While the other players began a practice match under Ferguson's watch on one half of the Wembley pitch, Fletcher was involved in a separate workout on the other side with four members of the supporting cast, Bébé, Gabriel Obertan, Darron Gibson and Anders Lindegaard. Fletcher did eventually take some part in the game but only the final few minutes.

Ferguson spoke of his conviction that, even without Ronaldo, this was a more rounded team than in 2009 and that the players "who await that stage are much more mature now".

He added: "They have to trust themselves and trust each other. They have to do the job right. We've done our preparation well and we are as prepared as we can be. According to the bookmakers we are the underdogs but for these big games I don't think it matters what the bookmakers or the experts say. We go out there with a decent chance and it doesn't matter whether or not we are favourites."

The oddest moment at Ferguson's press conference came courtesy of a Chinese journalist pointing out that the game kicked off at 2.45am in her country and asking whether it would keep everyone awake.

"It won't put you to bed, that's for sure," United's manager replied. "You'll need a sleeping tablet if you want that."

The game, he said, could have "a lot of goals", which lent towards the theory he will place the emphasis on attacking Barcelona this time and start with Javier Hernández as well as Wayne Rooney.

"The attraction is obvious. Anything could happen. It's an appealing final in terms of what could happen. There could be a lot of excitement and a lot of good football. Based on the enormous success the teams have had over the last 10 years, this could be the best final of the decade."