REAL Madrid coach Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United hold the advantage ahead of tonight’s show-stopping Champions League last 16, second leg tie at Old Trafford.
Real were held to a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu three weeks ago, when Cristiano Ronaldo cancelled out Danny Welbeck’s opener.
But Mourinho does not think the tie is evenly poised and insisted his team must attack to ensure they progress to the quarter-finals.
“We are effectively behind in the scoreline on away goals,” he said. “We will have to attack and be bold.
“I think they will be very defensive when we have the ball. But they are a strong attacking side and we will have to defend stoutly.
“The world will stop to watch this tie, which doesn’t look like a tie it looks like a final.”
Former United star Ronaldo, Champions League top-scorer this season with seven goals in seven games, is set for a warm welcome at Old Trafford on his first return to Manchester since his departure for Spain in an £80m move in 2009.
The iconic Portuguese forward has hit 34 goals for club and country this season, though not netted in his last three outings and United boss Sir Alex Ferguson insists his side should not fear his former prodigy.
“If we worry about the danger Cristiano can give us we will forget some of the things we can do ourselves,” he said. “We must trust the players.
“That’s what we always do and they must trust each other. That’s why we’ve had continued success for a long period.”
Phil Jones will be missing for United with an ankle injury, so Brazilian full-back Rafael is set to be charged with the unenviable task of keeping Ronaldo quiet.
Central defender Rio Ferdinand is available again after missing Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Norwich with flu, while veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs looks set to make his 1,000th career appearance.
Real will be missing goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who travelled with the squad to Manchester, but is not fit enough to feature due to a hand injury.
The Spanish side had to delay their arrival in England until Sunday due to a baggage handlers strike.
BAD OMEN FOR REAL
REAL Madrid have drawn at home in eight previous Champions League ties and have progressed just once. They drew 0-0 with Manchester United in April 2000, but then won 3-2 at Old Trafford thanks to a brace from Spain striker Raul and an own goal from midfielder Roy Keane. United hit back with second half strikes from Paul Scholes and David Beckham.