Champions League preview: Inter Milan vs. Man United

Champions League preview: Inter Milan vs. Man United

Champions League preview: Inter Milan vs. Man United
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

MILAN (AP) - Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson said he has no intention of toning down his team's attacking brand of football when it takes on Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan on Tuesday.

"I think Jose has seen enough of us to know we don't go out not trying to win and it will be the same tomorrow," Ferguson told reporters.

Man U is a considerable underdog for the defending Championship League winner. Oddsmakers are paying +220 for a United win, +150 for Inter and +200 for a draw.

Earlier in the day Mourinho said he believed United's defensive problems would cause the team to adopt a more pragmatic approach than normal.

"I'm not saying they're scared of us, but they respect us. I don't think they'll come with their usual approach," Mourinho said. "They will change more than us. "

"I doubt they will play with (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Wayne) Rooney, (Carlos) Tevez and (Dimitar) Berbatov, as they often do in the Premier League. They aren't coming to San Siro to win."

Alex Ferguson's side is currently facing a defensive crisis. Nemanja Vidic is suspended, Gary Neville and Wes Brown are injured and doubts remain about the fitness of Johnny Evans and John O'Shea. Midfielder Michael Carrick may even be pressed into duty as a makeshift center back.

Ferguson said that nothing had been decided and that he would make a decision on the day of the match.

"Obviously we have some injuries and we won't know until tomorrow (whether the players will be fit). O'Shea did a light session on his own and Johnny Evans didn't train. Everyone else who travelled trained.

"With Gary Neville and Wes Brown injured and Nemanja Vidic suspended for the game it is a worrying moment for us. I hope one will be OK, probably O'Shea. But that leaves us with a problem at right back, probably young (Fabio) De Silva (will play)."

In Mourinho, Inter has a coach who knows well how to beat United.

During his time in charge of Chelsea, he lost only one of 10 matches with United and also beat United twice on the way to winning the Champions League with Porto in 2004.

"When we were drawn against them I was happy because we know that we have a difficult opponent ahead of us. But I know that I don't need a big opponent to motivate my players. I'm 100 per cent certain we can do it," he said.

Ferguson played down the history between them and said that what matters is how the team performs on Tuesday.

"I don't think about the defeats to different managers. One defeat in 12 depends on how you look at it. It wasn't as though we lost all 11 games, if it was I'd worry. What matters is tomorrow night."

Like Ferguson, Mourinho has a few worries over his central defensive pairing. However, he has no such fears further up the field and said his team's midfield and attack would be the same as started the Milan derby.

"We will play a midfield diamond, with (Esteban) Cambiasso, (Javier) Zanetti, (Dejan) Stankovic and (Sulley) Muntari, with (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic and Adriano in attack. In defense, definitely (Davide) Santon and Maicon. The choice of the center backs depends and without (Walter) Samuel everyone else has a chance."

Two years ago Manchester United lost 3-0 at San Siro in a semifinal with AC Milan. It was a massively underwhelming performance in which star player Ronaldo was marginalized.

This time Ferguson believes the Portuguese winger has developed sufficiently to be able to dominate the match.

"I think my team is mature enough and I think Cristiano Ronaldo is mature enough. Two years ago against AC Milan you saw the immaturity of the boy, but he is a different player now."

Meanwhile midfielder Stankovic said he believes a win over the reigning European champion would give Inter the confidence to go all the way in Europe's premier club competition.

Inter made hard work of qualifying from the Champions League group stage, finishing second behind Panathinaikos and losing matches at home to the Greek side and Werder Bremen.

Stankovic believes that he and his teammates need to develop a winning mentality in Europe if they want to defeat a United side that has won 10 consecutive matches.

"Only the head (has been the problem). By that I mean the right approach to the key matches," Stankovic said. "Now is the moment to rewrite the script."

"With Inter I have won nearly everything, but I don't want to finish without having gone beyond the Champions League quarterfinals because we have the potential to make it to the end. Overcoming Manchester United will give us the belief to aim for the final."

The Serbian international also said that Inter needs to capitalize on the absence of his international teammate Vidic.

"I know Vidic well and he has played a big part in (Edwin) van der Sar being unbeaten for so long. His absence will be felt as he is one of the three best defenders in the world."

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