Last updated : 02 May 2007 By Editor


"Your anxiety never changes about the big occasions. But I will go to bed knowing I have a team full of confidence, that will run until the last minute and that will definitely have a go."

"We are going to need the same courage we had that night, albeit our hand was forced against Juventus by conceding two early goals. Then it was hell or bust. They went for it that night. This time we have to play with a degree of caution, but we will definitely be having a go.

"If you are realistic then you know Milan will be huge favourites to score on their home ground, so you have to back yourself to score and have an attacking emphasis. Sitting on our box would not do me, the team or the fans any good. If we are going to win, we will have to do it our way, and if we lose, we will lose our way too.

"The job for us last time against Milan was to come from 1-0 down. We had to score and we had three or four great chances and didn't take them. Last week we had half a dozen great chances - Dida has made three great saves in the match from Michael Carrick, Cristiano Ronaldo and Darren Fletcher. But we hit the target. Two years ago we never hit the target. We are far more mature in front of goal now.

"When the tests came in Europe after the group stages - against Lille, Roma and Milan - we produced top-drawer performances. They have taken to the challenge very well.

"It is a matter of how much risk we put on the game and, to be frank, I have not come anywhere near that decision. I want to see them in training, speak to them and gauge their own confidence. I would be delighted to play the two of them but I don't know if that is possible. Milan would provide less of a physical test to Vidic than a Premiership game like Saturday's derby, for instance, and the player himself would be happy to play. We just have to see whether he's fit to do it."


"Everyone has dreams. Every professional footballer, particularly at our club, wants to get to a European Cup final. I'm lucky: all my dreams have been fulfilled. I'm just happy to be manager of a club that is so entertaining. But I hope we can do it for the club's perspective because this club has not won enough trophies in Europe and we need to start doing that. We know what a difficult task it is but we are a team in form.

"I'll be in Athens for the final, whether it's with or without Manchester United.

"It would be a tragedy [if Scholes misses out through suspension and United go through].


"I won't let the bookings situation bother me. It is just another game and another chance to get to a Champions League final, so I don't think of it as being more important to get through because of what happened to me last time.

"It is a major tournament, one that every team in Europe wants to be involved in and it still feels the same as the semi-final in 1999. We all want to get there and we all want to win it if we do.

"It will help having been there before because we know what we are facing. What happened a couple of years ago was a big disappointment, but the likes of Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are a couple of years older now.

"The goal we scored in the last minute of the first game certainly gave us a boost and I suppose there is a possibility it might have disheartened Milan a little bit. I can't really see that happening though. It is going to be a very tough game and I just hope we can do a bit better than we did last time."


"There is a great buzz, no sense of nervousness at all.

"We can't wait for the game to start. That is why you are at a club like Manchester United, to be playing a game like this, playing AC Milan at the San Siro.

"Winning makes it a lot easier.

"If you are losing games the tiredness, both mentally and physically, plays a part. When you are winning, all those little knocks seem to disappear. You feel really strong and confident.

"That is the way the team is feeling at the moment. We just hope it continues."

About Kaka:

"Kaka is an outstanding talent..

"We saw that in the first leg and we will have to be on top form to stop him.

"But if we concentrate too much on him, the other Milan players will take advantage, so we have to find a balance."

Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti:

"There's always tension and expectation ahead of a semi-final tie, but I think we are in good condition to do well.

"We know who we are up against - Manchester proved to have great quality in the opening leg. I don't believe there will be many great surprises as to how they will play tomorrow.

"If we were to concede a goal, it will be no tragedy. We have to play for 90 minutes and I believe we can score more than one goal.

"Our aim is to control the game as we did in Manchester, when we were able to have the upper hand for 60 minutes. Now we have to do the same for the entire game - that is the best path to victory.

"One of Manchester's characteristics is the strength in their attack and the most dangerous striker is Wayne Rooney, as he showed in the opening leg.

"That is why we must limit their actions up front.

"We are very honoured to represent Italian football in this competition and more so considering that our nation are world champions.

"My team is a very Italian side, with an Italian soul and I believe we are best able to represent Italian football."

IMUSA's Mark Longden:

"Anyone travelling to the game should be aware.

"Everyone knows what happened in Lens and, in particular, Rome. If what we have been told is correct, it should just make everyone take a little bit more care."

Clarence Seedorf:

"Our fans are even more passionate than we are. The United fans were great at Old Trafford, but ours will be even better. It will be a San Siro unlike any other occasion."


"I have to admit we left Old Trafford a little bit disappointed. I only say that we were sad because of the late goal we conceded. It's frustrating to let in another late goal. I do not want to take anything away from the quality of Manchester United's play, and Rooney's goal, though. It was an incredible finish from Rooney. But losing the first leg is not the end of the world by any means.

"I believe that we stand a great chance to turn the tie around in the San Siro. In no way would I rest any blame on Dida for failing to stop it. "The timing of the shot was absolutely perfect. The game in Manchester was a real spectacle and I am convinced the second leg will be another amazing game. Perhaps it could be even more amazing than the first match! It was a wonderful show for the fans and it could be another one on Wednesday."

Ray Wilkins (played for Milan as well as ourselves):

"I would love to see Manchester United go through, but I think Milan might nick it.

"If you see the trend now in Italian games, there are bundles scored now.

"I don't think it will be as open."

About Scholes:

"Absolute class. I love watching him play. Alan Ball was the best one-touch player I ever saw. There were similarities to Scholes - he'd play one or two touches and not give the ball away."

"Milan will really wind him up."

On Carrick:

"I would like to see him be horrible on the pitch, but a very nice young man off it. I just want to see Michael come up to the plate a bit more, demanding the ball - that's the way you have to be.

"When you're only seeing the ball spasmodically, it's really difficult to impose yourself. United must look for him to try, with Paul Scholes, to dictate the way the game is played."

And his view on Ronaldo:

"I have never seen feet as quick on a ball as Ronaldo's - it's almost balletic at times," says Wilkins, who fully endorses all the garlands the winger has gained recently.

"Kaka isn't of that mould. He is more of an attacking, 'straight away' player, capable of taking the ball in his stride with one touch."


AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso will be available but defender Paolo Maldini (knee) is definitely out.

Kakhabar Kaladze and Daniele Bonera are favourites to replace Maldini in defence alongside Alessandro Nesta.

Manchester United duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are fit after recovering from collarbone and groin injuries.

Patrice Evra is suspended but Sir Alex Ferguson says he is "nowhere near making a decision" on whether Vidic or Ferdinand, or both, should play.

Louis Saha could be on the bench, despite his recent hamstring problems, but Gary Neville misses out again.

Heinze, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Scholes are all one booking away from a ban that would rule them out of the final, should United progress.

Milan beat United in the semi-final of the old European Cup in both 1958 and 1969.

Man Utd (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, O'Shea, Fletcher, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Heinze, Ronaldo, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs, Richardson, Eagles, Saha, Smith, Solskjaer, Rooney, Dong.


AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini is all but out of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg match against Manchester United at San Siro due to injury.

The 38-year-old defender, who is aiming to reach the final of Europe's top club competition for the eighth time, is struggling to shake off a knee injury he picked up in Milan's 3-2 first leg defeat at Old Trafford last week.

"There are very slim chances of having him (fit for the match)...I will decide on him in the evening," coach Carlo Ancelotti told the Gazzetta dello Sport Website.

The Times:

All of which has provided an unwelcome distraction before United's match against Milan, for which they hold a 3-2 lead from the first leg, although of more concern to Ferguson is the condition of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, his first-choice central defenders, both of whom are fit to play but are lacking match fitness.

Ferdinand, who has overcome a groin injury, would appear the more likely starter, having played only 11 days ago, although, given the energy with which Vidic has thrust himself into training barely a month since suffering a broken collarbone, Ferguson is tempted to take what he acknowledges is a "risk" and start with both of them. Having assessed the pair in training last night, however, he will probably wait until this morning before making his decision.

Although confidence is high in the United camp, not least after their comebacks against Milan at Old Trafford last week and away to Everton in the Barclays Premiership on Saturday, Ferguson admitted to feeling some "anxiety" yesterday. The omens are mixed. While Ferguson has won all 11 of the European ties in which United have emerged victorious from the first leg, Milan were the first and only team to overturn a first-leg deficit against United in the European Cup when they recovered from a 2-1 defeat to win 4-0 at home in May 1958, matches that followed the Munich air disaster.

More worryingly, only three teams - Real Madrid in 2001, Juventus last season and Bayern Munich this term - have trailed 3-2 going into the second leg of a Champions League knockout tie, and on all three occasions they have emerged victorious.

Ferguson, nonetheless, has happy memories of the previous time his team played the second leg of a Champions League semi-final in Italy and believes that his team will have to show "the same courage", as they did in coming from two goals behind to beat Juventus 3-2 in Turin in 1999, to overcome Milan.

On that evening, bookings for Paul Scholes and Roy Keane ruled them out of the final, but Ferguson is hoping that Scholes will not suffer the same fate, or Ronaldo and Gabriel Heinze.


The BBC forecast rain and a temperature of around 14°C.