Man United v Real Madrid: You can’t get better than this, declares Sir Alex
Man United v Real Madrid: Sir Alex Ferguson is confident that the Red Devils' Champions League clash with La Liga giants won't disappoint
Sir Alex Ferguson is confident that Manchester United’s Champions League showdown with Real Madrid at Old Trafford will live up to its billing.
The Red Devils head into Tuesday’s last 16 second leg after having secured a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu last month, meaning that they will book their place in the quarter-finals if they are able to keep a clean sheet against Los Blancos.
Madrid are in fine form themselves following back-to-back El Clásico victories over Barcelona in the lead-up to Tuesday’s crunch clash.
And United boss Ferguson, who confirmed that his side will be without the injured Phil Jones for the game, is sure that the match will not disappoint.
He said: “As a European night I don’t think you get better than this one. They’re clubs with two great histories and it’s set up to be a marvellous game and I don’t think it will be a disappointment.
“If you’re preparing for a game of football at our level you have to pay respect to the strengths of the other team which we do for every team – the shape, tactics, who the best players are.
“You’re doing your job and that applies tomorrow, but we know about the strengths of our team anyway. We know our strengths, our pattern and how to go about these games and hopefully that will help us tomorrow.”
Ferguson, whose side are 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League table and are already through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, added: “I think that both teams are in form.
“Real put in two fantastic performances against Barcelona. I was there on Tuesday and they were superb. They’ve found form at the right time for a game of this nature but we’ve been consistent for quite a while.
“As we know Real Madrid are one of the best counter-attacking teams in Europe and that showed against Barcelona, we have to find a way of coping with that but also have our own threat in an attacking sense.”
Man United v Real Madrid: Pre-match facts
• George Best got the only goal of the teams’ 1967-68 semi-final first leg at Old Trafford. United then battled back from 3-1 behind to draw 3-3 in Madrid and went on to lift the trophy for the first time.
• Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal when Madrid last won in England, 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur in the 2010-11 quarter-finals.
• Jose Mourinho has faced United twice before at this stage of the Champions League, starting with Porto’s success in the 2003-04 round of 16 en route to winning the trophy.
• Mourinho’s Inter Milan lost to United in the 2008-09 last 16. After a goalless first leg, Inter succumbed 2-0 at Old Trafford, Nemanja Vidić and Ronaldo scoring.