The Manchester United manager produced the right game-plan at the Bernabeu as a 1-1 draw was secured and, with better luck in front of goal, the result could have been even more positive.
With Real clearly a threat on the break, the way in which the hosts approach the second leg is certain to prove crucial as the Spanish side have been boosted by back-to-back victories against Barcelona.
When asked if the Reds will need to produce a defensive performance akin to the one that defeated Barcelona in the 2008 Champions League semi-final, Sir Alex replied: "That probably will be the key to the game, to be honest. As we know, Real Madrid are one of the best counter-attacking teams in Europe.
"That showed itself last Tuesday at the Nou Camp – they were absolutely stunning on the counter-attack so we have to find a way of coping with that while also having our own threat in an attacking sense.
"If you’re preparing for a game of football at our level you have to respect the strengths of the other team, which we do. Every team we play against, we do work in terms of their shape, their tactics and who their best players are. You’re only doing your job. That applies itself tomorrow. We obviously know the sense of our team anyway – we know our strengths and how to go about these games, and hopefully that helps us tomorrow."
Sir Alex has complete faith in his squad for implementing his ideas and putting them into practice as he works out how to get his message across.