Man United looking for revenge

Manchester United is only worried about what is going to happen on the field Tuesday when it faces AS Roma in the second leg of the Champions League quarte

updated: April 11, 2007 18:17 IST
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Manchester United is only worried about what is going to happen on the field Tuesday when it faces AS Roma in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.

United lost 2-1 Wednesday in the first leg at Stadio Olimpico, where Italian police fought with the visiting English fans. Outside the stadium, three United supporters were stabbed in clashes.

"I don't think Roma fans will have any problems in our stadium. There has never been a history of that," United manager Alex Ferguson said Monday.

"The control from the police and security is excellent and Roma fans should not fear a thing."

Extra police will be deployed before the match at Old Trafford, and Roma coach Luciano Spalletti has appealed to the 4,000 Roma fans expected for the game to stay out of trouble.

"They are part of this (club's) growth curve," Spalletti said. "If they appreciate that we are all doing it together as part of this wonderful game, then the good behavior will come almost spontaneously."

United has failed five times to overcome a first-leg defeat in the competition, although a 1-0 win will be enough to advance to the semifinals because of its away goal.

Injury worries

But injuries continue to deny Ferguson two pillars of his defense: captain Gary Neville and Nemanja Vidic. Striker Louis Saha will miss the match with a hamstring injury.

Midfielder Paul Scholes is suspended after being sent off in Rome.

Wayne Rooney will be relied on to score again after finally ending his almost three-year European goal drought in the first leg.

"There has been a lot of talk about I haven't scored for a while in the Champions League. Hopefully now that talk will stop and I can concentrate on getting more goals," Rooney said.

"Playing against Italian teams is like a game of chess. The game's slower, a lot more organized. In England the game's a lot quicker and end-to-end stuff."

The England striker identified winger Cristiano Ronaldo as being responsible for single-handedly winning games for United.

"Cristiano is by far the best player in the world," Rooney said. "His performances have been unbelievable."

It appears Rooney has forgiven Ronaldo for encouraging the referee to send him off in last year's World Cup after stamping on Ricardo Carvalho. Portugal beat England on penalties in the quarterfinals.

Manchester United is trying to emulate its 1999 treble. On Saturday, the team plays Watford in the FA Cup semifinals. In the Premier League, the Red Devils lost at Portsmouth 2-1 Saturday, reducing its lead over second-place Chelsea to only three points.

The Italians rested Daniele De Rossi, Rodrigo Taddei, Mancini and Cristian Chivu in its 2-0 win over Catania in the Serie A on Saturday.

Roma, in second place in Serie A, only reached the final in 1984 but lost to Liverpool on penalties.

Spalletti said his players must repeat their first leg performance.

"We have a huge amount of potential, we've shown what we can do," Spalletti said. "And we must make sure in the way we approach the game and in our mind-set that we maintain this level of quality."

Francesco Totti, who is struggling to shake off a leg injury, compared the match to Italy's World Cup final against France last year, which Italy won on penalties.

"I have to confess that as a Roma supporter myself, this is more important," said Totti, who played in the final. "We're playing against a team of huge quality, but the fact is we have already beaten them."

Christian Panucci has won the Champions League title twice - with AC Milan in 1994 and Real Madrid in 1998 _ and said Roma was "a step away from history."

"It's been a while since I've made it that far and this could be my last chance," Panucci said. "I don't have many years of playing left."

Due to Max Tonetto's injury and the need for an experienced defender to mark Ronaldo, Panucci was shifted from right to left back for the first leg. He could start on the left again Tuesday.

Midfielder Simone Perrotta, who was born in Manchester, is suspended.