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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Wed Mar 03 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
2. Inter Milan statistical penpix by Bill McArthur
5. Don't rule Ronaldo out says Ferguson  
6. United keep their focus as Inter rule out Ronaldo


Daily RED Trivia  Wednesday 3rd March 1999:

3/3/1990: United beat Luton Town 4-1 in a Division 1 game at Old Trafford witnessed
 by 35,327. Brian McClair, Mark Hughes, Danny Wallace and Mark Robins scored
 for the Reds. Team was: Leighton, Anderson, Martin, Bruce, Phelan, Pallister,
 Robins, Ince, McClair, Hughes, Wallace (Beardsmore). 


Barry Daily Comment:
Inter Milan (H) ECLl "Quarter Final" 1st leg 19.45
This is "D-Day" in the European Champions League!
We have to be ahead tonight pref by 2 goals. Enjoy the game!
Here is a good interview on the net by Italian football expert Giancarlo Galavotti
Try this url: http://www.sporting-life.com/soccer/audio/giancarlo.ram
Good luck tonight ALL WORLWIDE REDS!

Previous News:
 Brian Kidd Press conference, pic, real audio
Peter Schmeichel's last Season at United!

Next games: 
ALL Result/Fixture Index:

Today! Inter Milan (H) ECLl "Quarter Final" 1st leg 19.45
7  Chelsea      (H) 14.00 FAC6 *SKY SPORTS* LIVE* + DkTV1 Scand. 
10 Liverpool    (A) 19.45 PL (moved due to FAC)
13 Newcastle    (A) 15.00 PL
17 Inter Milan  (A) ECL "Quarter Final" 2nd leg 19.45
21 Everton      (H) 15.00 PL

UNITED Stats v All teams:

***  LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 01/03/99 ***
Pos Team                  P   W   D   L   F   A   GD  Pts
 1  Manchester United    28  16   9   3  63  29   34   57
 2  Chelsea              27  14  11   2  41  22   19   53
 3  Arsenal              27  13  11   3  35  13   22   50
 4  Leeds United         27  12   9   6  41  26   15   45
 5  Aston Villa          27  12   8   7  38  31    7   44
 6  West Ham United      27  11   7   9  31  38   -7   40
 7  Liverpool            27  11   6  10  50  34   16   39
 8  Derby County         27   9  11   7  26  25    1   38
 9  Wimbledon            26   9  10   7  30  36   -6   37
10  Sheffield Wednesday  26  10   5  11  34  25    9   35
11  Newcastle United     27   9   8  10  35  36   -1   35
12  Tottenham Hotspur    26   7  12   7  30  32   -2   33
13  Middlesbrough        27   7  12   8  34  39   -5   33
14  Leicester City       26   7   9  10  26  36  -10   30
15  Everton              27   6  10  11  20  29   -9   28
16  Charlton Athletic    27   6   9  12  31  37   -6   27
17  Coventry City        27   7   6  14  28  38  -10   27
18  Blackburn Rovers     27   6   8  13  27  38  -11   26
19  Southampton          26   6   5  15  26  50  -24   23
20  Nottingham Forest    27   3   8  16  22  54  -32   17


Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
15/08/98    Leicester City           Home     D  2-2    11    55,052
22/08/98    West Ham United          Away     D  0-0    11    26,039
09/09/98    Charlton Athletic        Home     W  4-1     9    55,147
12/09/98    Coventry City            Home     W  2-0     5    55,193
20/09/98    Arsenal                  Away     L  0-3    10    38,142
24/09/98    Liverpool                Home     W  2-0     3    55,181
03/10/98    Southampton              Away     W  3-0     2    15,251
17/10/98    Wimbledon                Home     W  5-1     2    55,265
24/10/98    Derby County             Away     D  1-1     2    30,867
31/10/98    Everton                  Away     W  4-1     2    40,079
08/11/98    Newcastle United         Home     D  0-0     3    55,174
14/11/98    Blackburn Rovers         Home     W  3-2     2    55,198
21/11/98    Sheffield Wednesday      Away     L  1-3     2    39,475
29/11/98    Leeds United             Home     W  3-2     2    55,172
05/12/98    Aston Villa              Away     D  1-1     2    39,241
12/12/98    Tottenham Hotspur        Away     D  2-2     1    36,079
16/12/98    Chelsea                  Home     D  1-1     2    55,159
19/12/98    Middlesbrough            Home     L  2-3     3    55,152
26/12/98    Nottingham Forest        Home     W  3-0     3    55,216
29/12/98    Chelsea                  Away     D  0-0     3    34,741
10/01/99    West Ham United          Home     W  4-1     3    55,180
16/01/99    Leicester City           Away     W  6-2     2    22,091
31/01/99    Charlton Athletic        Away     W  1-0     1    20,043
03/02/99    Derby County             Home     W  1-0     1    55,174
06/02/99    Nottingham Forest        Away     W  8-1     1    30,025
17/02/99    Arsenal                  Home     D  1-1     1    55,171
20/02/99    Coventry City            Away     W  1-0     1    22,596
27/02/99    Southampton              Home     W  2-1     1    55,316

This weeks fixtures:

                  Arsenal  v  Derby County
                 Barnsley  v  Tottenham Hotspur

        Manchester United  v  Chelsea
         Newcastle United  v  Everton

Premier League

*** FIXTURES ON 02/03/99 ***
   Tottenham Hotspur  v  Southampton

*** FIXTURES ON 03/03/99 ***
 Sheffield Wednesday  v  Wimbledon

*** FIXTURES ON 06/03/99 ***
       Coventry City  v  Charlton Athletic
         Southampton  v  West Ham United
           Wimbledon  v  Leicester City

Champions League:
Group D         P  W  D  L  F  A   Pts
Bayern Munich   6  3  2  1  9  6  11   
Man United      6  2  4  0 20 11  10
Barcelona       6  2  2  2 11  9   8    
Brondby         6  1  0  5  4 18   3   

Dec  9 Brøndby         0-2  Barcelona
Dec  9 Man Utd         1-1  Bayern Munich


 Manchester Utd    v   Inter Milan
 Real Madrid       v   Dynamo Kiev
 Juventus          v   Olympiakos
 Bayern Munich     v   Kaiserslautern

 Ties to be played on March 3 and 17

FAC Quarter Finals Draw ties to be
played the weekend of Saturday, March 6:

Newcastle United  v Everton  
Barnsley v Spurs  
Arsenal  v Derby  
Manchester United v Chelsea (Sunday 7/3 1400 hrs UK)


Clash of titans today! [click pic for match reports]

Subject: THE RIDDLE OF RONALDO Will he or won't he play? The riddle of Ronaldo's fitness remains unanswered with Inter Milan, naturally, claiming that he won't play against Manchester United, while other reports suggest he's ready for a shock return. The Brazilian genius apparently played and scored in one hour of a practice match last week, joining Roberto Baggio and Ivan Zamorano in Inter's dream attack. And even though he didn't feature in the weekend's goalless draw with Juventus, there's still an outside chance that the former World Player of the Year could stroll out at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Neutrals and Inter fans would be delighted if that were the case, while the United ranks would not be too beset by fear, given their own levels of confidence and fitness. Jaap Stam would certainly relish the chance to put one over on Ronaldo, who helped to knock Holland out of last summer's World Cup. Stam has now recovered from a hamstring strain, and had the benefit of a restful weekend when Henning Berg deputised in the 2-1 win over Southampton. It will be rough on Berg if he's again the fall guy in the team selection, but Alex Ferguson has every right to pick his strongest eleven for the home leg of a difficult European fixture. Perhaps the United manager's only quandary will be in central midfield, where he'll need to choose between the combative Nicky Butt and the creative Paul Scholes. Only one can partner the inspirational skipper Roy Keane, but the other will be handily placed on the bench. Inter, meanwhile, will hope to put their recent disciplinary problems behind them. Three players were sent off a fortnight ago when the team crashed 2-0 at home to Parma, so look out for the short fuse in midfielder Javier Zanetti and defenders Giuseppe Bergomi and Francesco Colonnese. Meanwhile, Zanetti's fellow Argentinian Diego Simeone will need no introduction to United's fans following his flashpoint with Beckham in France '98. Despite all the talk about Ronaldo, the key to this tie could actually be the Inter defence. So far, with the likes of Bergomi on top form, their rearguard has been the meanest in this season's Champions League, conceding only five in six games against Sturm Graz, Spartak Moscow and the holders Real Madrid. United, of course, have scored the most goals, so it's game on between the best defence and the best attack. Inter have a proud reputation to protect in this, the greatest club competition in the world. Back-to-back European Champions in 1964 and 1965, the Neroazzuri ('Black and Blues') have only once failed to reach the semi-finals. That was in 1989/90 when they lost, astonishingly, to the Swedes of Malmo - in the first round! United, meanwhile, have never knocked an Italian side out of a European competition. An ominous stat if ever there was one. It promises to be an intriguing contest, and you can expect all the ins and outs to be reported, live at half-time and full-time, on this very website. Probable teams: United: Schmeichel, G Neville, Stam, Johnsen, Irwin, Beckham, Scholes, Keane, Giggs, Cole, Yorke. Inter: Pagliuca, Colonnese, Bergomi, Galante, Zanetti, Simeone, Cauet, Winter, Djorkaeff (or Ronaldo), Zamorano, Baggio.
Clash of titans today! [click pic for match reports]

Subject: Inter Milan statistical penpix by Bill McArthur LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - Statistical penpix of the Inter Milan squad which has reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup: Goalkeepers Gianluca Pagliuca. Age: 32; Caps: 39 Appeared in the first ever Champions League match night in November 1991. Played in 1992 Champions Cup final for Sampdoria. Winners medals in 1990 European Cup Winners' Cup with Sampdoria and 1998 UEFA Cup with Inter. Sebastian Frey. Age: 18 Teenage Frecnh keeper, only played a couple of Italian Cup games so far. Defenders: Guiseppe Bergomi. Age: 35; Caps: 81 Broke Ray Clemence's all-time record of 114 European games during the group games, his tally now stands at 119 games. Won 1991, 1994, 1998 UEFA Cup medals. Mickael Silvestre. Age 21 French U21 international, who was in the team that won the UEFA Under-18 championship along with David Trezeguet, Nicolas Anelka, and Thierry Henry. Started two of this seasons group games. Taribo West. Age: 24: Caps: Nigeria 13 Member of Nigeria's 1996 Olympic gold medal team, and 1998 UEFA Cup winner. Played Champions League football for Auxerre in 1996-7 Francesco Colonnese. Age: 27 A member of the team that won the 1998 UEFA Cup. Also a member of Italian team that won 1994 European Under-21 championship. Only eight European games before this season. Fabio Galante. Age: 25 Was in the Italian Uunder-21 team that won the 1994 and 1996 European championships, and added 1998 UEFA Cup medal to his tally. Javier Zanetti. Age: 25; Caps: Argentina 37 Collected his first European honour in 1998 with UEFA Cup medal and scored a goal in the final against Lazio. Played in four of the six group games this season. Midfield Ze Elias. Age: 22; Caps: Brazil 9 Played in seven games in successful 1998 UEFA Cup campaign scoring 2 goals, but has only started the final group game against Sturm Graz in the Champions League this season Aron Winter. Age: 32; Caps: Netherlands 76 Has won medals in both of the other two European club competitions -- the Cup Winners Cup in 1987 with Ajax, and two UEFA Cup medals with Ajax (1992) and Inter (1998). Was also in Holland's Euro'88 winning squad. Francesco Moriero. Age: 29; Caps:7 Played in 10 of the 11 games en route to Inter's 1998 UEFA Cup success - his 3 goals were second in club lists behind Ronaldo. Paolo Sousa. Age: 28; Caps: Portugal 34 Joined the select band of those who have won European Cup medals in successive seasons, with Juventus (1996) and Borussia Dortmund (1997). Also collected 1997 Intercontinental Cup medal Diego Simeone. Age: 28; Caps: Argentina 74 Also played Champions League for Atletico Madrid in 1996-7 season after Atletico's 1996 double win. UEFA Cup medal with Inter in 1998, and Coppa America medals in 1993 and 1995. Andrea Pirlo. Age: 19 First season with Inter, was on the bench for all six group games this season. Benoit Cauet. Age: 29 Played in nine of the 10 games in the run to the Champions League semi-finals for Nantes in 1995-6, and won 1998 UEFA Cup medal with Inter. Forwards Youri Djorkaeff. Age: 30; Caps: France 51 Looking for a European Cup medal to complete a collection - has won 1996 Cup Winners Cup (Paris St Germain), 1998 UEFA Cup (Inter) and 1998 World Cup (France). Ronaldo. Age: 22; Caps: Brazil 44 Has won European trophies in the last two seasons - 1997 Cup Winners Cup (Barcelona) and 1998 UEFA Cup (Inter). Only one goal in five group games this season, has knee tendon injury and has said he will not play against Manchester United on Wednesday. Roberto Baggio. Age: 32; Caps 54 Has only one European honour so far - a 1993 UEFA Cup medal with Juventus. Was 1993 World and European Footballer of the Year. Did not start any of this season's group matches, but was still club top scorer with three goals. Ivan Zamorano. Age: 32; Caps: Chile 47 Five games and two goals in Inter's 1998 UEFA Cup success, including opening goal in the final. Champions League football for Real Madrid, scoring four goals in the 1995-6 campaign Nicola Ventola. Age: 20 Fantastic prospect in his first season with Inter, played in the first three Champions League group games before injury. ****** Manchester United statistical penpix LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - Statistical penpix of the Manchester United squad which has reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup: Goalkeepers Peter Schmeichel. Age: 35; Caps: Denmark 108 His only goal for United was scored in Europe -- in the 1995 UEFA Cup tie with Rotor Volgograd. Missed semi-final and quarter- final ties in past two seasons through injury. Won European Championship medal with Denmark in 1992, twice Danish Footballer of the Year. Raimond van der Gouw. Age: 35 Dutchman who is Schmeichel's under-study. Played in the losing 1997 semifinal against Borussia Dortmund and the 1998 quarter-final against Monaco. Defenders Gary Neville. Age: 24; Caps: 31 Made his club first team debut in Europe, in 1992 against Torpedo Moscow in UEFA Cup aged 17. United captain in last season's Champions League quarter-final against Monaco. Philip Neville. Age: 22; Caps: 13 Omitted on final day from 1998 World Cup squad, and 25 months younger than brother Gary. Sister Tracey is a current netball international Henning Berg. Age: 29; Caps: Norway 59 Played in all six games for Blackburn in the 1995-6 Champions League - now in second season with United in the competition. Denis Irwin. Age: 33; Caps: Ireland 51 Only survivor from Manchester United's winning 1991 Cup Winners Cup team, now in ninth season at Old Trafford. Victim of dreadful tackle in last seasons Feyenoord match. Jaap Stam. Age: 26; Caps: Netherlands 25 Played the opening five group Champions League games for PSV last season before suspension. World record fee for a defender of 10.5 million pounds at start of this season. Dutch Footballer of the Year 1997. Wes Brown. Age: 19 Played in the last four group games this season after making the team on a regular basis. A bright prospect for the future. Ronny Johnsen. Age: 29; Caps: Norway 41 Only played in the final group game this season against Bayern after injury as half-time substitute. Midfield: David Beckham. Age: 23; Caps 21 Made his European debut in Champions League in 1994-5 against Galatasaray as a teenager, scoring on debut in the final group game. Ryan Giggs. Age: 25; Caps: Wales 22 Has scored three goals in this season's group games, his best return in Europe. Missed last season's Champions League quarter-finals against Monaco with hamstring injury. Roy Keane. Age: 27; Caps: 43 Ireland United captain since Eric Cantona's retirement in 1997.He missed most of last season with knee ligament damage suffered in September. Paul Scholes. Age: 24; Caps: 15 Scored three goals in the recent group games. Brought into the United side in 1994-5 as a sub in both games against Barcelona. Nicky Butt. Age: 24; Caps 6 Made Champions League debut aged 19 in the 1994-5 competition - playing in all six group games. Jesper Blomquist. Age: 25; Caps Sweden 27 Signed from Milan last summer after United remembered his performance against them in 1994-5 Champions league for Goteborg, where he scored to help eliminate United. Forwards Andy Cole. Age: 27; Caps: 3 Scored three goals in this seasons' group games, to add to five goals including a hat-trick against Feyenoord, in the 1997-8 group games. Dwight Yorke. Age: 27; Caps: Trinidad & Tobago 22 United's record signing cost 12.6 million pounds at the start of the season and was competition's second top scorer in this season's group games with five goals. Signed six hours before Champions League deadline. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. Age: 26; Caps: Norway 19 Has played in all three Champions League seasons since joining from Molde, currently used a substitute and scored against Brondby this season after coming off the bench. Bill McArthur "There's only ONE United, Manchester United."
Clash of titans today! [click pic for match reports]

Subject: FERGUSON UPSET AT SIMEONE ANTICS By David Anderson, PA Sport More news from the United camp Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson has condemned Diego Simeone after the Argentinian admitted he deliberately got David Beckham sent off in the World Cup. The Inter Milan midfielder revealed he made a meal of the incident during England's France 98 clash with the South Americans to ensure Beckham was shown the red card. Simeone's admission has raised the temperature even higher before the pair meet for the first time since the World Cup in tomorrow's Champions' League clash at Old Trafford. United boss Ferguson is unhappy with Simeone's antics and hopes tomorrow's referee Hellmut Krug can handle him. "It's disappointing that a professional of his standard is reacting to another professional like that," he said. "We would rather just play the game and the referee is there to sort out any problems with Simeone on the field." All eyes will be on Simeone and Beckham during the quarter-final first leg, but despite the huge pressure on the United midfielder his manager is confident he will come through. "The pleasing aspect for me in the last few weeks is that David Beckham is right back to his best form. He's been playing exceptionally well," said Ferguson. Inter flew into Manchester today minus Ronaldo, although Ferguson will not believe the Brazilian is not playing until he sees the Italians' team sheet an hour before kick-off. Ferguson recalls two years ago that Jurgen Kohler flew in on the eve of their Champions' League semi-final with Borussia Dortmund after the team had arrived earlier. Ferguson does not believe Inter when they say Ronaldo will not play because of his knee problem. "I'm not convinced. When an Italian says it's pasta I check under the sauce to make sure," he said. "They are innovators of the smokescreen and I have to ask the question: 'Why did he play a practice match on Friday?"' Ferguson, though, can rest easy because Ronaldo was due to fly into Manchester tomorrow morning, by which time he would be too late to play. A UEFA spokeswoman said: "Players must arrive before midnight on the day before the game. "If Ronaldo arrives in the morning then that is his problem because he will not be allowed to play." Ferguson says his team could not be in better shape going into the tie and the only player he is missing is Teddy Sheringham. The same cannot be said of the Old Trafford pitch, which could cause United yet more problems. The troublesome surface has just been patched up again and there are fears that the constant rain of recent days might lead it to deteriorate once more. Ferguson said: "The pitch could make a difference if it's what it was like for the Arsenal match when it stopped a lot of our attacking play." Ferguson also refuses to read too much into Inter's mediocre season. He knows they have players who can turn on the style in big games like this, although he does not expect to see much attacking from the Italians. "I think you could place too much attention on how they have been doing," he said. "We expect them to be motivated because it's their only real chance of getting a trophy. Some teams can play for just one trophy and forget everything else. "They will be hard to beat and they will come here and try and stop us from scoring and then hit us on the counter-attack. "One of the important things for us is not to concede an away goal. I hope to be in a position of going to Milan having won the game with no goals conceded. One-nil would do me fine." Despite his manager's outburst David Beckham is prepared to shake hands with Simeone to end their feud. Beckham, speaking to his father Ted before Simeone's admission of guilt, revealed he would not snub Simeone if approached for a handshake after the quarter final first leg tie. Mr Beckham said: "I spoke to David and asked him - 'what are you going to do if he comes up to you? He said: 'What can I do? I'll shake his hand.' "David is his own man. He knows exactly what went on and still, to this day, cannot believe the referee pulled out a red card. "David hasn't forgotten it but he has put it behind him. It is all history now. The best way for David to get back at him (Simeone) would be to knock him out of the European Cup. "David has got over what happened in the World Cup and he has come back a better, stronger player." Simeone, for his part, seems reluctant to make his peace with Beckham tomorrow night. He told an Italian newspaper: "I'm not the sort who shakes the hands of my opponents, as a point of principle. After the match, we'll see." Simeone admitted that he had conned match official Kim Neilsen into ordering Beckham off the field in the World Cup encounter in June. "Obviously, I was being clever. By letting myself fall, I got the referee to pull out a red card immediately," Simeone said. "In reality, it wasn't a violent blow, it was just a little kick back with no force behind it, and was probably instinctive. "The referee was right there, just two steps away, and probably punished that intention to retaliate. "Let's just say the referee fell into the trap, but it was also a difficult one for him to have avoided because I went down well and in moments like that there's a lot of tension. "You could say that my falling transformed a yellow card into a red card," Simeone said. The Argentinian realises his comments will probably help to turn up the level of vitriol from United fans during the first leg but claimed he enjoys being whistled at by opposing fans. "I'll be going there willingly, to one of the best football stadiums in the world," he said. "Old Trafford, which I happen to know, is a really marvellous place and I'm delighted to be going back there. "Obviously, the atmosphere is going to be boiling and I might get whistled. But if that happened, the English fans would only make me happy. I adore it when rival fans whistle at me. It really fires me up." Simeone's only regret is that Beckham was villified on his return to domestic action with some opposing club fans booing his every touch in Premiership games. "I think that in England, they wanted to put all the blame for being knocked out on Beckham. "But in fact, they had just as good a chance of knocking us out. And it certainly wasn't his fault if we were better, and luckier, in the penalty shoot-out. "We're talking about a player who I think is excellent and has a truly great future ahead of him." Despite Inter's indifferent form in the Italian league, Simeone is confident that his side can overcome United over the two legs. "We all know perfectly well that Manchester United are in excellent form and that playing home will give them that something extra. "But we also know what we have to do to counter that. The fundamental thing will be to read the game right from the start, realise straight away how to move and what to do." Manchester United could not have prepared a less hospitable welcome for tomorrow's Champions' League quarter-final opponents if they had stolen all the pasta at the exclusive Worsley country club which the Italians have chosen as their base. Inter had woken up to headlines in Milan full of Argentinian Simeone apparently admitting he had conned referee Kim Nielsen to get Beckham sent off in that infamous World Cup match in Saint-Etienne. But after they had dried off and sampled the obligatory glass of red wine before driving to Old Trafford for a light training session, Inter coach Mircea Lucescu immediately attempted to pour cold water over any lingering feud. "There was no naughtiness," said Lucescu through an interpreter in the shape of Inter vice-president Gianmaria Visconti di Modrone. "I don't understand why so much is being made of this. It's not just between Diego and Beckham. This is a match between United and Inter. That was a game between Argentina and England. "All the world is looking at this match. It is the most important in this competition and we want to give it a valid image." Lucescu, Inter's caretaker coach until Marcello Lippi arrives in the summer, is also under the impression that Simeone will not receive a hostile reception from the Old Trafford crowd - which is a bit like hoping it won't rain in Manchester for the next month. But if the crowd do jeer the Argentinian it would work to Inter's advantage, claims Lucescu. "England have the fairest public in the world. I don't think there will be a nervous atmosphere," he said. "Simeone is not a child. He has received criticism before and sometimes he plays three times better when he does. "He wasn't playing well when he first came to Milan and he reacted very well to the response then." Lucescu, however, admitted that the loss of Brazilian Ronaldo, whose injured knee rules him out of the game but who will fly in tomorrow to watch the match, is a major blow. "English football is all about the collective. The Italians build a team around big players," said Lucescu. "I hope the players perform in a way to forget that Ronaldo is not there. It means they must all double their efforts." Whether Inter's stars will respond to Lucescu's rallying call is debatable, especially as only last week the Romanian coach was involved in a heated dressing-room bust-up with defender Taribo West. Inter have won only three games out of nine this year and have been less than impressive in recent defeats against Lazio and Saturday's goalless draw with Juventus. Inter captain Giuseppe Bergomi, the 36-year-old Italian defender, is under no illusions that tomorrow's match could break up the side languishing sixth in Serie A and whose passionate fans are beginning to show simmering unrest. "It is a very important match," said Bergomi, who admitted United had been one of the sides they wanted to avoid along with Juventus and Bayern Munich. "To beat Manchester we need the best Inter on the pitch and hope that in the return match Ronaldo will be there." Which gives a pretty good clue of the sort of clinical Italian defensive performance United can expect. Not that Bergomi reckons Italian football is predictable. "It is English football which is always the same, you know what to expect. Italian football always has something new," he said. It was a warning United should not disregard. Man Utd (probable team): Schmeichel, Irwin, G Neville, Stam, Johnsen/Berg, Keane, Scholes, Beckham, Giggs, Yorke, Cole.
Clash of titans today! [click pic for match reports]

Subject: SIR BOBBY BACKS BECKHAM COOL By Mark Bradley, PA Sport Chief Soccer Writer David Beckham has matured enough since the World Cup to ensure that he will not lose his head when he faces Diego Simeone again this week, insists Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton. Simeone proved to be Beckham's nemesis at France '98, when the midfielder's petulant kick at the Argentinian earned him a red card and contributed to England's elimination from the tournament. Beckham has paid a heavy price since, being vilified by many opposing supporters and having his every move analysed in minute detail. When United face Simeone's club side, Inter Milan, in the first leg of their Champions' League quarter-final at Old Trafford on Wednesday, the 23-year-old's temperament will again be put under the microscope. There have been isolated flashes of indiscipline from Beckham since their last meeting in St Etienne, such as his clash with Tim Sherwood during United's game against Blackburn on November 14 last year. But despite running 15 yards to confront Sherwood - before the former Blackburn captain was sent off for the use of his elbow - Beckham has largely controlled his temper in Europe and the Premiership. He has missed one Champions' League group game against Brondby after two earlier yellow cards and one Premiership match after amassing a total of five cautions. But that hardly places him high up the league of top-flight sinners so far this season when compared to serial offenders like Dennis Wise and Mark Hughes. Sir Bobby is confident that there is little danger of Beckham making the same mistake again when he comes up against Simeone either in the home tie or in the return leg in Milan. "I'm sure he wouldn't react in the same way again, I'm certain about that," said the United director. "He's learned his lesson but unfortunately, he'll never be allowed to forget it. "There will always be opposing fans who will find reasons to boo him and make him feel uncomfortable, but he's just got to be big enough to take it. "He's matured since the World Cup - he's had to - and I've been quite pleased with the way he's handled it. "It's tough every week to cope with the pressure he's been under but he knows that there's no alternative. "He has to behave himself, he has to be respectful to the opposition and respectful of his own players. "I think he's done all right. There's been a couple of times when it's been borderline but we're all human." Sir Bobby says the much-publicised meeting of Beckham and Simeone should not be allowed to overshadow what promises to be an enthralling confrontation between two of Europe's biggest clubs. He firmly believes that the strength in depth of United's squad, with their multitude of exciting young talent, means that they are in line to recapture Europe's greatest club prize soon. And he says that this season one of their greatest advantages could prove to be the rest which manager Alex Ferguson gave to players such as Peter Schmeichel and Gary Neville around Christmas. Last season, tiredness and injury to key players were seen as two of the major factors behind United's elimination from Europe at the same stage of the competition to Monaco. "I never had a rest during a season, but if the manager felt he could afford to rest a couple of the players, then that's a chance you've got to take," explained Sir Bobby. "At the end of every season, you have the major problem of squeezing fixtures in for whatever reason, as we're asking too much of players. "It's very hard for the manager to actually leave out good players but he's got to try and keep them all interested. I'm sure it will pay off in the long-term."
Clash of titans today! [click pic for match reports]

Subject: Don't rule Ronaldo out says Ferguson by Jeremy Butler MANCHESTER, England Mar 2 - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson refused on Tuesday to rule out the possibility of Ronaldo playing for Inter Milan in Wednesday's European Cup quarter-final, first leg at Old Trafford. The Brazilian striker will fly into Manchester on the day of the game with Milan saying he will watch the match because his troublesome knee has not recovered in time to play. Ferguson however believes the move could be a smokescreen designed to upset his preparations. "I'm not convinced. When the Italians say it's pasta I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen. I have to ask the question why did he play in a practice match on Friday? I think they want him to play but it's more down to what Ronaldo and his doctors want," reflected the United manager at a news conference on the eve of the game. Ferguson also said he was disappointed at Inter Milan midfielder Diego Simeone's comments on his clash with David Beckham when England lost to Argentina in the World Cup quarter-finals last year. The Argentine admitted he had faked injury to ensure Beckham was sent off for kicking him. "It's disappointing that a professional of his standards is reacting to another professional like that. I'm not going to get involved in it. The referee is there to sort out any problems with Simeone on the field," Ferguson said.
Clash of titans today! [click pic for match reports]

Subject: United keep their focus as Inter rule out Ronaldo BY STEPHEN WOOD IF IT is a smokescreen, they are themselves in danger of losing sight of the bigger picture. Internazionale, who face Manchester United in the first leg of their European Cup quarter-final tie at Old Trafford tomorrow, insist that Ronaldo is unfit and will not be with team when they fly into Great Britain today. The Brazil striker has not fully recovered from a long-term knee injury and, if he visits Manchester at all, it is believed that he will arrive on a private jet with Massimo Moratti, the Inter president, tomorrow. Officials of the Milan club said yesterday that Ronaldo is "99 per cent certain" to miss the match. However, there have been conflicting signals with every new day and United refuse to be fooled by what could amount to an elaborate mind game. Alex Ferguson, the United manager, knows that it will be to the benefit of his team if Inter get themselves preoccupied over Ronaldo. It is also increasingly clear that United believe that they can overcome Inter whether he turns up or not. Ferguson oversaw a lively practice session at The Cliff, the club's training headquarters, yesterday, watched by a large number of supporters. The workout finished with a proper match, giving the onlookers a glimpse of the final XI that will be entrusted with exploiting Inter's indifferent form. Barring last-minute disasters, United will field a full-strength side and, for once, there is no need for Ferguson to indulge in any mental kidology of his own. Roy Keane, the United captain, spoke for all his team-mates when he said: "We're not afraid of any team, anywhere. We began to take a closer look at Inter in training yesterday, but you can look at the opposition too much. We are concentrating on our strengths and we'll let them do the worrying." His words suggest that the circumspection that enveloped the last appearance by United in the quarter-finals has been erased. Then, against AS Monaco last season, they were undone by virtue of the away goals rule. "A win at home tomorrow is vital," Keane said. "We must not concede any goals, either. Italian teams are very good at coming to places and nicking one precious goal." Inter believe that they can trouble the central defensive pairing of Jaap Stam and Ronny Johnsen. At training yesterday, Steve McClaren, the United first-team coach, emphasised the need for containment in a separate discussion with the defenders and the central midfield partnership of Keane and Scholes. Edgar Davids, the Juventus midfield player, also spoke out on behalf of Stam, his team-mate in the Holland national side. "It is laughable if Inter think that Jaap is slow," Davids said. "He has got the quality to cope with whatever they throw at him." Ferguson has received a report on every Inter match since the draw for the quarter-finals was made, but he will urge his players to concentrate on their own game. He said: "We must learn from our experiences in previous European ties, about the dangers of counter-attacking and relaxing at crucial moments. Nor can we be overawed by the qualities that Inter present." So important is this tie that the local newspaper in Manchester has brought out a souvenir supplement this week, detailing United's "glorious" European campaigns. Alas, it serves only to underline how inglorious most of them have been, but it is an anomaly that, to judge by the confidence around Manchester yesterday, the present players feel they can finally eradicate.
Clash of titans today! [click pic for match reports]

Subject: REDS' POT - ROBSON MANCHESTER UNITED legend Bryan Robson last night backed the awesome goalscoring power of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke to KO Inter Milan. Middlesbrough boss Robson said: "Cole and Yorke can be the difference between the teams. It will be tough for United, but what you need at this level are strikers who can score goals out of nothing and United's front two are outstanding. "Alex Ferguson's main aim this season is to win the European Cup and, with Cole and Yorke, he has got every chance." KEANE'S BIG DEAL ALEX FERGUSON is backing Roy Keane to stay at Manchester United for life on the eve of the Euro showdown with Inter Milan. The Old Trafford skipper will sit down in the summer for contract talks aimed at hammering out a lucrative new five-year deal. Talks have still not started with just 15 months left to run on Keane's existing contract. It is a delay that has surprised the Irishman's close advisers as they prepare for the hard bargaining ahead. But Ferguson is in no doubt about Keane's loyalty and commitment to stay as he officially enters the fray for the first time. The United boss said: "There's no way he's going to want to leave. Every time a player's contract is up there is something to negotiate. "There is a strong advantage for the player now. But nobody wants to leave Manchester United."
Clash of titans today! [click pic for match reports]

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