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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bossing Mourinho

MANCHESTER UNITED boss Alex Ferguson is paying little heed to the somewhat extraordinary fact that, in all his years of tussling with Inter Milan counterpart Jose Mourinho, the Scot has managed only one win against a side managed by the colourful but egoistic Portuguese.

The two managers match up once again at Old Trafford for the last 16 second leg of their Champions League tomorrow (3.45am), now on a knife-edge after a goalless first leg in Milan.
And Ferguson feels that his personal record against Mourinho is barely relevant to the game.

“I look at this football club and I have every right to be proud of it and what it has achieved in the time I have been here. That is more important to me.”

Ferguson’s only win against Mourinho came in 2005, when a Darren Fletcher header saw the Red Devils to a victory over Chelsea. And the fact that United, despite dominating the game for long periods, didn’t manage to score in Milan, could leave Ferguson wondering whether perhaps there is a ‘jinx’ when he faces the controversial and colourful Mourinho.

That goalless first leg also leaves United open to the threat of an Inter away goal — a fact Ferguson also acknowledged.

“You can never be overconfident in this position simply because an away goal can be a severe setback,” he said.

“That was the situation when we played Barcelona. What we required that night was magnificent concentration and really good focus in our game. We managed to get through because of both those two factors.”

Should United win tomorrow though, Ferguson is unlikely to dash down the touchline in joyous celebration, the way Mourinho chose to acknowledge his Porto side’s goal at Old Trafford five years ago.

“Look at the ages. There is a difference,” the 67-year-old concluded wryly.

Ferguson has all the quality players who can steer United to a place in the last eight — like Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo - to frustrate Mourinho and his players.


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