The official website for European football

Mutual optimism in Manchester

Published: Tuesday 9 March 2004, 10.19CET
Sir Alex Ferguson and José Mourinho are both confident their side will prevail at Old Trafford.
Published: Tuesday 9 March 2004, 10.19CET

Mutual optimism in Manchester

Sir Alex Ferguson and José Mourinho are both confident their side will prevail at Old Trafford.

By Jonathan Caswell in Manchester

Sir Alex Ferguson and José Mourinho were both in confident mood as Manchester United FC prepared for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout-round tie with FC Porto at Old Trafford.

First-leg deficit
Trailing 2-1 after the first match in Portugal, Sir Alex knows his side will have to produce a disciplined and determined display to overturn the deficit against the UEFA Cup holders – which he believes the English champions failed to do two weeks ago.

'We must impose'
"We have to be prepared for everything and impose ourselves which we didn't do last time and we must do to get through this round," he said. "I think it just requires a 'European' performance from us which we didn't get in Portugal."

Stunning strikes
Despite the one-goal deficit, the United manager is convinced that his side – who took the lead in the Estádio do Dragão through Quinton Fortune before two spectacular strikes from Benni McCarthy turned the match in Porto's favour – will prove too strong for the visitors.

Home comfort
"Given our home record you have to be confident, but in the case in all European games there is a job to be done," he said. "I don't think we've ever gone into these European ties with any other thought than to work hard and play well."

Historical support
History would seem to support the United manager's view. Porto have conceded nine goals in their two previous visits to Old Trafford and United have scored 23 goals at home against Portuguese opposition down the years, conceding just six in the process.

Crucial defence
Despite the statistics, Sir Alex is aware that his side can take nothing for granted and must focus on the job in hand. "You can't eliminate any part of the team and the defence has a major part to play," he said. "If we don't concede any goals I think we will go through."

Mourinho praise
Mourinho, meanwhile, was fulsome in his praise of the English champions. "United are a wonderful team with wonderful players and a team that aims to beat us and get to the quarter-final - that's football," he said. "They are the favourites for the match and one of the favourites for the Champions League. They have the best team, they have everything, and 65,000 people behind them."

United pressure
"I know that 1-0 is enough for them, but I don't think they will play for that with their power and their philosophy," the Porto coach continued. "They will be looking to beat us, and score goals. But I promise - regardless of the result - to give a wonderful match and I won't change my mind. It's the same team and we come to play."

Sizeable scalp
Mourinho is aware though that victory over United would be a highly-prized scalp and a somewhat unexpected success, saying: "We don't lose many games in the league. When we do lose against a smaller team it is not easy for anyone to accept, so I understand the feeling because in Portugal we are top of the league."

Scoring spree
Porto will name an unchanged side, which includes McCarthy, who is in a rich vein of scoring form - he has scored six in the last four games including two against United, but the home side will be without Roy Keane. The influential captain is suspended after being sent off in Portugal, while Porto midfield player Costinha is available again following suspension.

Last updated: 09/03/04 20.20CET

Related information

Team profiles
Related match
  • SSI Err

http://www.uefa.com/news/newsid=152002.html#mutual+optimism+manchester

UEFA.com features

Who has won titles in the most European nations?
  • Who has won titles in the most European nations?
  • Penalty shoot-outs: the long and the short of it
  • Story so far: Real Madrid CF
  • Guingamp magic floors Paris
  • Fenerbahçe great Alex calls time on career
  • Gabbiadini inspires high-flying Sampdoria
  • UEFA Champions League round of 16 classics
  • UEFA Europa League stars and strikes
  • Deciding drama: The best of matchday six
  • UEFA Youth League group stage by numbers
1 of 10
 
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.