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Page last updated at 19:36 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Man Utd vow to chase win at Inter

Uefa Champions League, First knock-out round, first leg
Venue: San Siro Date: Tuesday, 24 February Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Coverage: Live on ITV1, full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Ferguson hints at attacking approach

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has brushed aside Jose Mourinho's suggestion that defence will be the priority against Inter Milan.

"I'm sure Jose has seen us enough to know that we very seldom go into a game not trying to win," he said.

The sides meet at the San Siro on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

But Inter coach Mourinho believes United will keep it tight ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford on 11 March.

The former Chelsea manager claimed earlier on Monday that he expects a cagey encounter between the respective leaders of Serie A and the Premier League.

"Nothing will be decided tomorrow. I don't think Manchester will come to try to win. They'll play very defensively," he said.

Man Utd will sit back - Mourinho

"There will be another great game at Old Trafford."

But Ferguson said the competition's away goal rule means United cannot afford to play too defensively.

"We still have the opportunity to take Inter back to Old Trafford with a good result. If we score an away goal it will give us a great chance," he stated.

"You're always intent in Europe to get that goal that means something really big when you get back to your own ground."

With Nemanja Vidic suspended, Gary Neville and Wes Brown already ruled out through injury and Jonny Evans and John O'Shea unlikely to recover in time for the match, Ferguson is juggling various makeshift defensive options.

And he conceded that whatever back line he decides on, United will face a testing evening against Inter's Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"Their star player without any question is Ibrahimovic. He's had a fantastic season and is getting all the praise he deserves," confirmed Ferguson.


However, Ferguson was dismissive of Mourinho's superiority in head-to-head meetings with Manchester United.

The Portuguese coach masterminded Porto's defeat of United at the same stage of the competition in 2004, where a last-minute goal from Costinha prompted him to sprint from the dug-out to join his players' celebrations.

While in charge at Chelsea he avoided defeat in all but one of his 10 meetings against Ferguson and clinched consecutive Premier League titles.

"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," insisted Ferguson.

Mourinho promised that his team would go on the attack against last year's Champions League winners.

"We won't change our style of play, it will be 4-4-2 with a diamond formation in midfield and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Adriano in attack," he added.

"I've told the players not to think about the possibility that in two weeks they'll be out of the Champions League but that in two weeks they could have beaten the champions of Europe.

"We shouldn't be afraid, we have to keep our way of playing. We are playing a great team but so are they.

"Beating Manchester wouldn't be anything special, the important thing is qualifying for the next round."


The Special One in his own words

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see also
Inter Milan v Man Utd
23 Feb 09 |  Man Utd
Man Utd 2-1 Blackburn
21 Feb 09 |  Premier League
Vidic suspended for Inter match
30 Jan 09 |  Man Utd
Chelsea appoint Mourinho
02 Jun 04 |  Chelsea

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