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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Mourinho wary of United's attacking riches

Mourinho wary of United's attacking riches

March 10, 2009 10:53 IST

Someone needs to score when Manchester United face Inter Milan on Wednesday and although Jose Mourinho claims Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the world's best striker, he must be secretly envious of Alex Ferguson's riches.

The teams drew 0-0 in the first leg, United dominating the match but missing a few tempting chances, and the Champions League last-16 tie is finely balanced heading to Old Trafford.

Ferguson rested Cristiano Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov for Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final win at Fulham and Carlos Tevez grabbed his opportunity with two goals in another energetic display as United cruised to a 4-0 win.

The Argentine striker would be the first name on the team sheet for most clubs and has managed 12 goals for United this season.

However, he is likely to start on the bench for the holders with Berbatov partnering Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo offering danger from out wide.

"It is a very difficult decision for me to make, as I hate leaving great players out," Ferguson told MUTV.

Though spoilt for choice up front, Ferguson has the opposite problem at the back as his long-running centre-back woes continue with Rio Ferdinand and John O'Shea both doubtful.

"Rio is a bit of a concern," Ferguson said. "He's gone over on his ankle and we just have to wait to see how he is now. I just hope he makes it because he is such an important player."

Mourinho's planning was upset when central defenders Marco Materazzi and Nicolas Burdisso suffered leg injuries in the 2-0 league win at Genoa and were ruled out. Defender Cristian Chivu has failed to recover from a thigh injury.

The Portuguese coach, however, will not allow such problems to distract him from his latest showdown with Ferguson.

He blasted into English soccer's consciousness with his jig of delight after his Porto team knocked United out at Old Trafford in 2004 and ever since he has been a very irritating thorn in Ferguson's side.

From Porto to Chelsea and now Inter, he has lost only one of 13 matches against the Scot and will not be remotely fazed by United's record run of 20 unbeaten Champions League matches.

United, also unbeaten at home in 18 Champions League games, are still in the hunt to collect five trophies this season, but it could all fall apart with a single goal for the visitors.


Inter defender Walter Samuel is fit to return and striker Adriano, on the bench against Genoa, should partner Ibrahimovic.

Midfielder Sulley Muntari, who scored a penalty at Old Trafford last season when Portsmouth beat United 1-0 in the FA Cup, is also due to return to Inter's starting lineup.

Possible teams:

Manchester United: 1-Edwin van der Sar; 2-Gary Neville, 15-Nemnanja Vidic, 5-Rio Ferdinand or 23-Jonny Evans, 3-Patrice Evra; 16-Michael Carrick, 18-Paul Scholes, 10-Wayne Rooney, 13-Park Ji-sung, 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 9-Dimitar Berbatov

Inter Milan: 12-Julio Cesar; 13-Maicon, 25-Walter Samuel, 2-Ivan Cordoba, 39-Davide Santon; 4-Javier Zanetti, 19-Esteban Cambiasso, 20-Sulley Muntari; 5-Dejan Stankovic; 8-Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 10-Adriano

Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany)

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