FOOTBALL NEWS

03/03/2013 09:00, Report by Nick Coppack

Sir Alex: No place like home

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United fans are capable of producing an atmosphere to rival the very best in world football.

The Reds host Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 second leg on Tuesday night, having returned from Spain last month with a very credible 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu. Now, the United boss is expecting the two sides to meet again at United’s home against a backdrop of colour and noise.

“It was a good result for us in Madrid,” Sir Alex said. “We scored the away goal and that means we flew back to Manchester feeling positive.

“What it does is ensure that Old Trafford will be absolutely fantastic for the return leg. There’s a guaranteed great atmosphere that night, and I always feel that on special occasions there’s no better place to be.”

Certainly, Old Trafford was rocking the last time Spanish opposition, Barcelona, arrived in Manchester for a Champions League knockout tie. That was in April 2008, a night many fans and players still recall fondly.

Rio Ferdinand remembers United  were “under a lot of pressure” that night, but insists “the noise the crowd made was incredible and they really drove us on”. The same sort of support may be required again on Tuesday evening for a match many are calling the Reds' biggest fixture for several years.

More: Sir Alex expects Rio to sign | Beware Madrid break | Van Persie OK for Real clash

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