When Inter were drawn against Manchester United in the Champions League, we could be certain of two things. Firstly, there will be two keenly-contested matches between the respective champions of England and Italy. Secondly, there would be plenty of mind games taking place between the two managers.
The Times reports that Jose Mourinho stops just short of describing Sir Alex and his United team as ‘afraid’ of the Serie A league leaders ahead of Tuesday night’s first leg game. The ex-Chelsea manager is at his best behind a microphone and speaking to a group of journalists, claiming that the Red Devils know that they can easily lose tonight’s match.
The personnel crisis in defence is one reason why Mourinho, the Inter coach, expects Ferguson to show caution this evening. The former Chelsea manager, who insists that Inter will prevail over the two legs, said: “I am not saying they are afraid — I don’t like the word, Sir Alex doesn’t like the word and United does not like the word — but I am saying they respect us and they know they can lose. They don’t come here to face us eye-to-eye and try to win at the San Siro. So they make changes and we don’t change.”
However, Ferguson smirked last night when he was told of Mourinho’s attempts to second-guess him. “He said that, did he? We will have to wait and see,” the United manager replied. “Basically we will be similar to what we normally do, with just one slight moderation.”
Apparently the Manchester United manager is likely to play a 4-5-1 formation in the San Siro this evening, thus protecting a weakened defence and cutting out the supply line to Ibrahimovic and Adriano. Who will come out on top when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object?