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04/03/2013 10:03, Report by Ben Hibbs
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Talking points: United v Real

hope briefly emerged. However, that was perhaps the only time when an epic comeback really even seemed a remote possibility as, this time, Real and Ronaldo in particular deserved the plaudits.

Realistically we’ll have to win the tie on Tuesday night. Should we go all out from the off or keep it tight and play on the break?‬

Mark Froggatt: Ordinarily, an away goal is a precious commodity and generally hands one side an advantage in the second leg. However, this is not your typical tie and, for me, there is little value in Welbeck’s headed opener at the Bernabeu. Of course, it was a psychological boost and capped a fine performance from the Reds, but I just can’t imagine Real not scoring in M16. It’s half-time, all is left to play for and, in front of a raucous home crowd, Sir Alex’s men can afford to be cautiously ambitious. Any gung-ho tactics would favour their counter-attacking style, though, so a measured approach is key. What’s my prediction? 2-1 United.

Who will be United’s key player and how should Sir Alex set up his team?

Ben Hibbs: The focus may be on the Reds' big names – Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney – or the man making his 1,000th senior appearance, Ryan Giggs (possibly a shrewd, rousing selection by the boss). But I think the in-form Carrick is the key man. Real Madrid are at their most potent on the break, so United cannot go all-out attack. Neither can the Reds sit back and invite pressure. As always in Europe, keeping and controlling possession is important. That’s what Carrick does best, and he’ll need to be at his very best on Tuesday for the Reds to get through. His form suggests this is his time to rule on the big stage. Here’s hoping, anyway.

More: Carrick relishes big occasion | Sir Alex: No place like OT | Real Madrid podcast

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