The Reds will travel to Stade Velodrome on Wednesday 23 February 2011 and then entertain the French champions at Old Trafford on Tuesday 15 March. And while some United fans may be happy to have avoided the Italian giants in the draw, including European Cup holders Internazionale, the boss believes Marseille will make tricky opponents.
Giving his immediate reaction to MUTV, Sir Alex said: "Everyone thought we might get one of the Milan sides because we’ve faced them quite a few times in the last few years, but we got Marseille in the draw rehearsal and it proved right.
"Marseille are a handful at their own ground. The fantastic atmosphere and their incredible support guarantees that. They’ve had a good change in fortunes in the last two or three years, after a dry spell, and think it’ll be a difficult tie."
Although United haven't faced Marseille for more than a decade, there are some familiar faces in the opposition camp.
"[Former Chelsea midfielder] Didier Deschamps is the coach there," said the boss, "and they've got one of our old players in Gabriel Heinze so it’ll be nice to see him."
Sir Alex said of the previous meetings in 1999/2000: "I remember the games well. We won 2-1 at Old Trafford, but lost 1-0 over there when William Gallas scored for them. It wasn’t a good performance from us that night."