Fergie has Mour sense than to do a Jose silly dance
Published 10/03/2009 | 00:00
Paul Scholes does not expect Sir Alex Ferguson to perform an ‘Old Trafford charge’ if Manchester United overcome Inter Milan in the Champions League tomorrow night.
On his first visit to the Theatre of Dreams five years ago, Jose Mourinho famously raced out of the dug-out and ran down the touchline as he celebrated the goal that took eventual winners FC Porto into the last eight.
Mourinho is back this week, again as underdog but this time with a much stronger Inter team, hoping for a repeat.
Scholes wants the opposite of course. But even if the Red Devils maintain their incredible quest for five trophies, he will not be waiting for Ferguson to fly down the touchline in glee.
"At his age?" laughed the former England star. "He would probably collapse.
"It would be nice to see but I don’t think our manager goes in for that type of thing.
"He will probably stand up, have a little clap and be pleased we have gone through."
Not that Scholes is taking anything for granted.
United may have emphasised their class with a four-goal hammering of Fulham to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the fourth time in six years at the weekend but the victory came at a cost, with Rio Ferdinand picking up an ankle injury that puts his presence against Inter in jeopardy.
There have been positive vibes from United’s Carrington training complex but it will be another 24 hours before Ferguson can offer an accurate assessment for the England star.
At least United do have Northern Ireland international Jonny Evans to come in, as he did for the first leg when Nemanja Vidic — who has again been linked with AC Milan — was suspended.
Evans was outstanding at the San Siro, although United are still cursing their failure to take advantage of unquestioned dominance by grabbing a vital away goal.
It leaves them vulnerable to Inter scoring, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Adriano both capable of doing damage even if neither man impressed a fortnight ago.
Scholes recalls a couple of occasions, against Monaco in 1998 and Real Madrid two years later, when United failed to emerge victorious from similar situations.
However, they did also overcome Barcelona in last season’s semi-final to book what turned out to be a night of glory at the Luzhniki Stadium last May.
"It probably was the perfect way to play a home leg after a goalless draw," said Scholes.
"We did well to get the draw in the first place because Barcelona is such a tough place to go, then we defended really well and got the goal at home, which, in a European tie, was ideal. We will take that again on Wednesday."
Another winning goal would be nice for Scholes too as he was the man who thundered home the strike that took United to Moscow. Not that he is too bothered.
"Now and again I still score these big goals," he shrugged.
"It would be good but whoever scores does not really matter as long as we get through.
"Any win against a tough team like Inter would be great for us."
The sight of Scholes remaining on the bench at Fulham hinted at a place in Ferguson’s starting line-up on Wednesday, with the same also true of Ryan Giggs, while the places of Dimitar Berbatov and Cristiano Ronaldo appeared assured.
However, Ferguson will be giving nothing away, knowing his head-to-head record of just one win in 13 confrontations with the hugely confident Mourinho suggests Inter’s wily coach can take maximum advantage from any bit of information he can lay his hands on.
United should not be short on confidence though, having already pocketed the Club World Cup and the Carling Cup this season, with the Premier League seemingly in the bag and just two wins away from landing the FA Cup as well.
United have been paired with Everton in the last four, a team they have beaten 23 times in 29 meetings since their surprise defeat in the 1995 Final at Wembley.
They also have the memories of Moscow to fall back on, at least ensuring United will not give up their crown lightly.
"We had a great night in Moscow and we want to experience that feeling again," said Scholes.
"But last year is gone now. It was great when it happened. But this is a new year and we want to win it again."