Inter Milan v Man Utd preview

24 February 2009 09:56
Sir Alex Ferguson comes up against old foe Jose Mourinho as Manchester United continue the defence of their UEFA Champions League crown at Inter Milan.

Inter coach Mourinho enjoyed the better of his duels with Ferguson during his time as Chelsea boss, tasting defeat just once in 12 matches.

Mourinho will be looking to maintain that record in the first leg of the last-16 tie on Tuesday, with Inter out to take advantage of United's defensive troubles.

Ferguson has jokingly said he will have to play Dimitar Berbatov at sweeper and there will be a late decision on United's line-up for the game at the Giuseppe Meazza.

Late decisionsNemanja Vidic is suspended after being sent off in the final of the Club World Cup back in December, while Gary Neville, Wes Brown and Rafael da Silva are all injured.

The holders also have concerns over John O'Shea (heel) and Jonny Evans (ankle), so Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra are the only fully fit, experienced defenders in the squad.

Evans did not train on Monday evening, and O'Shea took part in a light session, with the Republic of Ireland international the likelier of the two to be fit.

O'Shea could partner Ferdinand at centre-half, with either Rafael's twin brother Fabio or Darren Fletcher pressed into action at right-back.

Edwin van der Sar will definitely return in goal for United after Tomasz Kuszczak was given the nod in Saturday's 2-1 Premier League win over Blackburn Rovers.

If Fletcher is used as an emergency full-back, Paul Scholes or Ryan Giggs are likely to partner Michael Carrick in midfield, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Park Ji-sung on the flanks.

Wayne Rooney has often been used out wide in away European games, but Ferguson insists his team will be sent out to win the tie, following claims by Mourinho that United would settle for a draw.

Centre-back issueMourinho publicly named the bulk of his team for the game at Monday's pre-match press conference, with only his centre-back pairing to be decided.

Davide Santon and Maicon will play at full-back and, with Marco Materazzi and Walter Samuel injured, Cristian Chivu and Ivan Cordoba could play in the middle.

Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Zanetti, Sulley Muntari and Dejan Stankovic will form a midfield diamond, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Adriano will play up front.

United knocked Inter out of the Champions League en route to their historic Treble in 1999 and Ferguson will be hoping it proves to be an omen as his team chase an unprecedented Quadruple.

Source: SKY_Sports