Mourinho: 'World will stop to watch us' as Real take on Man Utd

Rival managers Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson have the utmost respect for each others ability.

Story highlights

  • Jose Mourinho underlines importance of Real Madrid's tie at Man Utd
  • 'The world will watch' the Champions League second leg match he says
  • United gained a valuable 1-1 draw in Madrid three weeks ago
  • United manager Alex Ferguson aware of threat posed by Cristiano Ronaldo

Not given to understatement, Jose Mourinho says the "whole world will be watching" when his Real Madrid side play Manchester United in their crunch Champions League last 16 second leg tie at Old Trafford Tuesday.

With the scores tied at 1-1 from the first leg in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Mourinho knows that the outcome is finally balanced, increasing the interest for the committed and neutral fans.

"Tomorrow the world will stop to watch this tie," Mourinho told gathered reporters.

"They are on a fantastic run, better than ever this season. FA Cup quarterfinal, the (English) Premier League is theirs in March.

"We are also in good form in 2013. We have lost one match. It doesn't look a tie, it looks a final. Let's see which teams are at Wembley but I doubt the expectation can be bigger than this," added the Portuguese who celebrated his 50th birthday last week.

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Mourinho forged his reputation when his Porto side famously knocked out Manchester United in the semifinals at Old Trafford in 2004, running down the touchline to celebrate the late clinching goal.

He said he had calmed down a little in the intervening period but was still has hungry to win as ever.

"The approach is completely different though. That match was my first season playing Champions League football, now I have played more than 100 matches and I can control my emotions.

"If I lose tomorrow I won't cry and if I win I won't run 100m again!"

Mourinho confirmed that his captain and experienced goalkeeper Iker Casillas would not be returning despite traveling with the team and training Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium, home of United's great rivals Manchester City.

Spain international Casillas has not played for Real since being injured in January, but in his absence the reigning Spanish champions have been on a fine run, beating Barcelona in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey and in their 'El Clasico league clash Saturday, winning 2-1.

Cristiano Ronaldo's second half substitute appearance changed the course of the match for Real and they will be hoping he can work his magic again against his former side United.

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Legendary home manager Alex Ferguson is well aware of the threat posed by his former charge and when asked about it by reporters responded with humor.

"My biggest concern is that he turns up!" he quipped.

"What do you expect when you play against a team with Ronaldo in it? You expect problems during the night. We have to try and curtail that as best we can.

"It won't be easy because he does it every week. The experience young Rafael had in the first half in Madrid hopefully helps him because he'll be getting the same task again.

"I don't think it's one we should fear. If we go in worrying about the damage Cristiano can do then we'll forget some of the things that we can do ourselves."

United will go into the tie as marginal favorites with the bookmakers and off the back of a thumping 4-0 win over Norwich in the EPL, but they will be missing utility man Phil Jones, who has failed to recover from a thigh injury.

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