For some reason, we've failed to negotiate past Milan in Europe. Four defeats over four two legged ties. When the draw was made, perhaps this was the least eye-catching statistic as the world media quickly turned it into a David Beckham ceremonial return to OT.
Perhaps United should forget all about Beckham and realise that they are up against what you would call their 'boogey' team in Europe. Perhaps one would be right to say that United have come a long way since that 3-0 humiliation at the San Siro. We had a team that night that had an average age that would give the so called Arsenal kids' a run for their plaudits, whilst Milan had all but a couple of players below 29.
Perhaps United have grown to adapt the rigours of the knock out phases of the Champions League as they have made it to two consecutive finals in this unforgiving modern era where such a feat is as difficult as defending the crown has proved.
Regardless, it's AC Milan once again tomorrow and the lads have a job to do. It's a two-legged tie so there's no need to go for broke....not yet anyway.
The most we can hope for in this game is an away goal or two or at wost still be in the tie when the second leg comes round. See, Milan have always had us at their home in the second leg and that has nullified our efforts in the first leg. This time, we have them at OT for the decider so just like Inter found out last year, and Barca the year before, we can push the tempo at home.
The manner in which we approached the City game a couple of weeks ago in a two legged semi is what we'll be hopping for.
Ferdinand will start (thank God UEFA) is not managed by the FA! Vidic could make a surprise return from injury; nonetheless we have Evans and Brown to cover. I'm thinking that Brown should take right back as Rafael could easily be exposed on the night due to his inexperience.
Fletcher and Carrick have had a good run in the side lately but I have this feeling that Sir Alex will recall Anderson to stifle the Milan midfield. Speaking of stifle, all could play as the Gaffer looks to continue his so far very successful 4-5-1 that has usually been the case away from home in Europe over the years.
Milan have a few old heads in their side but the pace of Pato and Hunteelar makes it easy for them to combine precision with speed. Ronaldinho is the main channel of attack and you get the feeling that he will be up for this one in a bid to reclaim his spot in Brazil for the World Cup. Dida can be a shaky keeper so I really hope that the lads could work him with a few shots. One might get spilled into the path of Roooney.
It's a hostile atmosphere at the San Siro but most of this team has been through this over the past few years. We are good enough for the task at hand, and we will certainly do it if WE BELIEVE!
Labels: UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE