Giggs expects goals galore
Ryan Giggs has told Manchester United fans to strap themselves in and get ready for the ride of their lives at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
United entertain Real Madrid in a Champions League last-16 second-leg clash on Tuesday knowing a goalless draw will be enough to clinch a quarter-final berth. Real's last visit to old Trafford finished 4-3 to United thanks to two goals from David Beckham and a comeback that followed a hat-trick from Brazilian forward Ronaldo.
"It was two great sides and there were so many goals. It could be similar tomorrow," said Giggs. "When you have that much firepower on the pitch, undoubtedly there are going to be chances and goals."
And the spectre of Ronaldo remains. Only this time it is the man who once delighted the Old Trafford faithful rather than the one who remains the highest goalscorer in World Cup history, whom Ferguson rather cruelly dismissed on Monday.
"The older one, the fatter one, peaked as a centre forward at that time," said Ferguson. "(Cristiano) Ronaldo is a supreme athlete. He never misses a game, has fantastic physique, two great feet, pace, he is good in the air.
"My biggest concern is if he turns up because you expect problems. We have to try and curtail that as best as we can. It won't be easy because he does it every week. But it isn't something we should fear. If we go in worried about the damage Cristiano can do we forget what we can do ourselves."
The hosts' hopes of repeating that relatively subdued effort from a former world player of the year have undoubtedly been hit by the loss of Phil Jones, whom Ferguson confirmed has not recovered from the ankle injury he sustained against Reading a fortnight ago.
"Phil Jones won't be fit for tomorrow," said Ferguson. "His performance over there was absolutely excellent. It is a miss but we can't deem it as something we can't manage. We have got options. We hope we get that right."
Real flew into Manchester on Sunday night following back-to-back wins over Barcelona, the first of which in particular - a devastating 3-1 Copa del Rey second-leg triumph at the Nou Camp following a 1-1 stalemate at the Bernabeu - creates an uncomfortable precedent United need to avoid.
"Real have had two fantastic performances against Barcelona," said Ferguson. "I was there for the first one when they were superb. They have found form at the right time for a game of this nature. As a European night I don't think you get any bigger than this one. It is set up to be a marvellous game. I don't think it will be a disappointment."