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Running scared: United will not be able to look us in the eye, goads Jose

24 February 2009 08:06
Jose Mourinho renewed his rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson by declaring that Manchester United

will not have the nerve to go 'eye to eye' and attack Inter Milan in the San Siro tonight.

Mourinho and Ferguson come face to face for the 13th time with the United manager having won just two of the pair's previous 12 meetings — one of those on penalties.

And former Chelsea and Porto boss Mourinho lit the touch paper ahead of what should be a titanic Champions League last 16 tie by predicting United will change their attacking style to try and avoid first-leg defeat.

Mourinho, nine points clear in Serie A and confident enough to name his Inter team in front of the English media, said: 'I don't think they are coming here to play eye to eye, to try to win the game here.

Warming to the task: Rio Ferdinand (centre) and the rest of Manchester United's stars looked anything but frightened as they jogged around the San Siro Stadium in training ahead of tonight's clash with Jose Mourinho's men

 The winner takes all? Mourinho and Fergie prepare to lock horns again in Europe

Remember me? I knocked United out in 2004 and I'll do it again with Inter, goads mischievous Mourinho

O'Shea set to solve United's defensive crisis as Irish duo both board plane for Inter clash

From A to Zlatan: Our guide to the cream of the stars in European football

The big Champions League lowdown on the big ties this week

VIDEO SPECIAL: I'm better than Rooney! Ibrahimovic oozes confidence

MANCHESTER UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB

'I have paid great attention to every match in the previous year in the Champions League. Man United changed. They will go to this game with a different approach to normal.

'I know Sir Alex doesn't like the word — and a team like Man United doesn't like the word — so I'm not saying they are afraid of us. But they respect us. They know they can lose.'

Confident: Mourinho is convinced his Inter Milan side can knock out Champions League holders United

Ferguson laughed and smiled through his own press conference, amused by Mourinho's familiar display of bullishness. He admitted that the Portuguese coach was right in one way, confirming that he will meddle with United's usual formation.

It is expected that Wayne Rooney will play on the left of a five-man midfield, with Dimitar Berbatov operating as a lone striker. But the United manager was also happy to hit back at the Inter coach and predicted an away goal for United that will ensure they go through when the teams reconvene at Old Trafford next month.

Ferguson said: 'I am sure that Jose has seen us enough to know that we will try to win the game. That won't change.

'There could possibly be one positional change, but other than that we will play the same way as we do in the Premier League. I am basing my tactics on the way they will play and I am hopeful and confident that we will be able to impose ourselves on them. I'm told that Jose thinks the game will go to extra-time when we get to Old Trafford, but I don't.'

Attacking intent: Ferguson claims his side will aim for victory in the San Siro



United arrived in Milan yesterday beset with injury problems in defence, a situation reminiscent of the time they came to this stadium to face AC Milan without key men two years ago and were hammered 3-0.

With Nemanja Vidic suspended and Gary Neville, Wes Brown and Rafael Da Silva injured, United also have doubts over Jonny Evans and John O'Shea.

Injury doubt: Ferguson hopes O'Shea (left) will be fit, while Rooney (right) may play in midfield

Last night, O'Shea trained with his team-mates while Evans looked on from the sidelines, suggesting that the former will partner Rio Ferdinand in the centre of defence while Darren Fletcher will fill in at right-back.

However, it is understood that Evans has a much better chance than Ferguson has suggested of shrugging off his ankle injury. Inter are missing Argentina defender Walter Samuel, the only key player unavailable.

Ferguson added: 'We do have some major problems and if neither O'Shea nor Evans make it then it will be time to panic.

'They are both big concerns for me but we have to accept that one or both might be missing and get on with it. The crowd and the atmosphere will help our players, I am sure of that and we have come a long way since a couple of years ago.'

Mourinho has always been more than comfortable facing Ferguson since the day in 2004 when his Porto team shocked United at Old Trafford by knocking them out at this stage, 3-2 on aggregate, after a late goal.

Ferguson, for his part, claimed not to be bothered about his record against Mourinho.

'He came to England saying he was the Special One and it galvanised Chelsea,' he reflected. 'They caught us on the hop at the time. But I don't worry about the record. If I had lost them all, maybe I would worry.'

The United players were watched last night by their former club-mate David Beckham as they trained and the current AC Milan star may even be in the visiting end with his father, Ted.

INTER MILAN (4-4-2): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Cordoba, Chivu, Santon; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Stankovic, Muntari; Adriano, Ibrahimovic.

MAN UTD (4-3-2-1): Van der Sar; O'Shea, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes; Giggs, Rooney; Berbatov.

Ref: Luis Medina Cantalejo (Sp).

TV: ITV1 7.30pm, (k.o. 7.45pm).

 The winner takes all? Mourinho and Fergie prepare to lock horns again in Europe

Remember me? I knocked United out in 2004 and I'll do it again with Inter, goads mischievous Mourinho

O'Shea set to solve United's defensive crisis as Irish duo both board plane for Inter clash

From A to Zlatan: Our guide to the cream of the stars in European football

The big Champions League lowdown on the big ties this week

VIDEO SPECIAL: I'm better than Rooney! Ibrahimovic oozes confidence

MANCHESTER UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB





 

Source: Daily_Mail