Champions League – Scholes has winning formula


Paul Scholes believes Manchester United will beat Internazionale in Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 second leg if they follow the formula that saw off Barcelona last season.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s team held Inter to a goalless draw at the San Siro two weeks ago, just as they did when they faced Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the semi-finals last year.

The Premier League champions returned to Old Trafford to finish the job against Barca with a hard-fought 1-0 victory and Scholes is confident they can do the same against Jose Mourinho’s Italian outfit.

“It probably was the perfect way to play a home leg after a goalless draw,” Scholes said.

“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.”

The last time Mourinho brought a team to Old Trafford for a European tie, he burned his name into the English psyche with a spectacular touchline jig of delight after his Porto team scored a late goal to eliminate United.

Mourinho has built an impressive record against Ferguson – losing just once in 13 meetings – and the United manager would relish the chance for revenge.

But Scholes insists there is no chance of a similiar celebration from the Scot if United reach the quarter-finals.

“At his age? He would probably collapse!” Scholes said. “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.”

Scholes isn’t certain to start on Wednesday as Ferguson may prefer Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher in central midfield, but he is likely to be involved at some stage.

The former England midfielder has an uncanny knack of scoring crucial goals on the big occasion, but he is more concerned with ensuring United retain their grip on the trophy won against Chelsea in Moscow last year.

“Now and again I still score these big goals,” he said. “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.

“We had a great night in Moscow and we want to experience that feeling again.

“It was great when it happened. But this is a new year and we want to win it again.”

Inter defender Cristian Chivu has failed to recover from a thigh injury and has not travelled with the Inter squad to Manchester.

However, fellow defender Walter Samuel is in the squad and should start, with Mourinho facing a defensive personnel crisis.

Centre-backs Nicolas Burdisso and Marco Materazzi are also out after picking up injuries in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Genoa.

“For Nicolas Burdisso, tests showed a tear in the right leg and a tear in the medial ligament of the left knee,” said a club statement, adding that Materazzi had a left leg injury.

Ivan Cordoba is expected to play alongside Samuel in the centre of defence. If the Argentinian suffers a late setback, midfielder Esteban Cambiasso could be forced to deputise.

United have defensive injury problems of their own, with centre-back Rio Ferdinand and full-back John O’Shea both doubtful after suffering minor injuries in Saturday’s FA Cup sixth round against Fulham.

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