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Sir Alex wary of Marseille danger

Published: Monday 14 March 2011, 20.05CET
With Manchester United FC's tie with Olympique de Marseille delicately poised at 0-0, Sir Alex Ferguson expects a "nervy" second leg at Old Trafford with a quarter-final place up for grabs.

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Tournament statistics

Man. UnitedMarseille

Goals scored19
 
13
Attempts on target69
 
41
Attempts off target55
 
61
Corners76
 
48
Offsides43
 
17
Fouls committed174
 
109
Yellow cards14
 
11
Red cards0
 
0
 
Published: Monday 14 March 2011, 20.05CET

Sir Alex wary of Marseille danger

With Manchester United FC's tie with Olympique de Marseille delicately poised at 0-0, Sir Alex Ferguson expects a "nervy" second leg at Old Trafford with a quarter-final place up for grabs.

Sir Alex Ferguson is anticipating a tense night at Old Trafford as his Manchester United FC team seek to overcome Olympique de Marseille and reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the fifth successive campaign. Mindful of being caught on the break following the goalless first leg, the United manager received a bonus with the quicker-than-expected return to fitness of Nani, whom OM coach Didier Deschamps pinpointed as a source of "one or two problems for us".

European games are always nervy, but it's nice to have that bit of apprehension ahead of big ties like this
Sir Alex Ferguson
On paper you'd expect them to qualify but we've got every chance as well – football's not played on paper
Didier Deschamps

Sir Alex Ferguson, United manager
European games are always nervy, but it's nice to have that bit of apprehension ahead of big ties like this. We're up against a very experienced, powerful Marseille team who'll want to play well. We've had them watched twice away from home against [AS] Monaco [FC] and [Stade Rennais FC] and they showed the qualities we expect to see again tomorrow.

Marseille will try and hit us on the break, but there are lots of ways of counterattacking in the modern game. It's my first time up against Didier so I've not got enough knowledge of him to say how he'll approach the game.

There's a good chance Nani will be involved tomorrow, as he trained on Sunday also. Michael Carrick did too, which is also positive news for us. Both should be involved tomorrow night. It was a fantastic bonus to get 45 minutes from [Antonio] Valencia [in the 2-0 FA Cup win against Arsenal FC], since he's been out for so long. The question is whether to start him or do what we did on Saturday and use him from the bench, but it's a nice selection dilemma for me.

Didier Deschamps, Marseille coach
If you look at the stats then it looks a difficult task: Manchester United have not been beaten at home for [24] games and have only conceded one goal in seven Champions League matches this season. Though it's three or four years since Manchester United last won this trophy, thanks to their status they're always among four or five teams that are favourites to win at the start of every season. On paper you'd expect them to qualify but we've got every chance as well – football's not played on paper.

Nani did well in the first leg, he created one or two problems for us. What I like about him is that he speeds the game up and every attack involving Nani is fast, but equally the likes of [Wayne] Rooney, [Javier] Chicharito [Hernández] and [Ryan] Giggs can all create problems for us tomorrow. We're only likely to get around three or four chances during the whole game so we'll have to be very precise in our finishing.

Having watched the game against Arsenal first hand, I'm not sure what tactics Sir Alex will play, but we'll do our best to attack them while keeping things tight at the back and trying not to give anything away.

Team news
United
Valencia was a second-half substitute on Saturday on his return from the dislocated and fractured left ankle he suffered on Matchday 1. Nani (gashed leg) − who was ruled out for three weeks as recently as Friday − and Jonny Evans (ankle) trained on Monday, though Sir Alex confirmed the latter will not feature at Old Trafford.

Nemanja Vidić missed the session due to a knock sustained at the weekend but is expected to be fit. Rio Ferdinand (calf), Park Ji-Sung (hamstring), Michael Owen (groin) and Anderson (knee) are all sidelined.

Marseille
Mathieu Valbuena (knee) should be available, along with André-Pierre Gignac (ankle), who was taken off towards the end of Friday's league match but has been included in the travelling party.

Latest results
Saturday: United 2-0 Arsenal
(Fabio 28, Rooney 49)
A fourth consecutive victory against Arsenal sent Sir Alex's side through to the FA Cup semi-finals for a record 27th time. United started with seven nominal defenders at Old Trafford and one of them, stand-in winger Fabio, broke the deadlock with his second goal in three appearances.

Friday: Rennes 0-2 Marseille
(Rémy 23, Lucho 80)
Sir Alex was in the stands as OM made light work of opponents who, after a five-match winning run, began the weekend four points ahead of them. Rennes still boast the best defensive record in France's top flight, with Marseille second, though no side can better OM's away record in Ligue 1.

Did you know?
Marseille have won only once previously in England, Valbuena scoring the only goal in a 1-0 success at Liverpool in the 2007/08 group stage. Their overall record is W1 D3 L5.

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Last updated: 27/11/12 10.09CET

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