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23/02/2009 08:52
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Papers: Ready for battle

Fergie ready for Inter battle
Sir Alex Ferguson has told Manchester United: Beat Inter Milan and we can win the Champions League again. The Old Trafford boss meets his old foe Jose Mourinho as Inter host the reigning champions in a mouthwatering first-leg clash tomorrow. Fergie said: “We are one of the favourites. A very difficult match awaits us. One of the keys will be our ability to control them. If we go through, we can go far. Inter are very South American with the technique and mentality of Argentina and with some very good Brazilians. Their players are strong like Julio Cruz, Adriano and, above all, Ibrahimovic.”  Tomorrow’s game in the San Siro is a huge test for United and Fergie, who has an appalling record against the Special One. Fergie added: “Jose is my old friend. Some people don’t like him because he’s impertinent. I really like him. He’s correct.”
Anthony Kastrinakis, The Sun

True to form, Mourinho salutes his own role in the Reds' recent silver-laden seasons. "When I was in England, Chelsea was the best team between 2004-06," he says. "Manchester United realised they needed to be better to win it and that’s what they did. That has given them so much confidence."

The Daily Mirror claim United have had a secret spy run the rule over Inter. The Reds' man incognito - David Beckham - believes Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Adriano are the Italians' key men. Becks says: "They're strong and quick and hold the ball up well. But control them and United have a great chance."

Who faces the Inter duo is the subject of much debate among the tabloids, with United undergoing a central defensive injury crisis after Jonny Evans limped out of Saturday's win over Blackburn. The Northern Irish international almost certainly joins John O'Shea, Gary Neville, Wes Brown and Nemanja Vidic in sitting out the San Siro trip.

Following Liverpool's concession of two points against Manchester City - which left the Merseysiders seven points behind the Reds - Rafael Benitez is still championing his side's title hopes. "I have confidence that we can still win it," he says. "But we must win our next two league games against Middlesbrough and Sunderland and then win against Manchester

Round Up By Steve Bartram
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