Football: Ferguson set to call on United's artisan aspect

THOSE Manchester United players who had a fine view of the Alps as the team flew south to Nice yesterday may have considered a few footballing cliches about mountains and peaks.

The English champions' now perennial quest for the club game's highest honour begins anew here tomorrow when they meet Monaco in the European Cup quarter-final first-leg. United are confident, but wary. As Gianluca Vialli, a European champion with Juventus, noted after their weekend victory over his Chelsea team: "You can play well for eight months but one bad performance and the Cup is gone."

United have not been scaling the peaks recently but they have been gradually rediscovering the form of autumn. Saturday showed their artisan side, an aspect which may need to be to the fore again tomorrow.

"I hope Saturday was a barometer to Wednesday night," said the manager, Alex Ferguson, yesterday. "We had to defend against clever players like Vialli and [Gianfranco] Zola. It was a guide to what we will face from Monaco."

United's only concern - with the injured Ryan Giggs definitely out - is Gary Pallister, who lasted 27 minutes at Stamford Bridge before departing with a back injury. "He had treatment on Sunday and again this morning," said Ferguson, "but we will not be taking any risks." With Monaco possessing exceptional pace in attack, notably in Thierry Henry and Victor Ikpeba, Ferguson is likely to turn instead to Henning Berg.

Ikpeba scored twice in extra-time as Monaco, third in the French league, beat Marseilles 2-0 in the cup at the weekend. Yet that competition is no more of a priority to Jean Tigana, the Monaco coach, than the English one was to Ferguson. David Trezeguet, the 20-year-old striking prospect who made his France debut in January, defender Franck Dumas and Scotland's John Collins were rested and the Algerian midfielder Ali Benarbia and Henry put on the bench. All are expected to be fit tomorrow.

United's supporters began arriving yesterday, accompanied by one of the Football Association's security officials. The club have sold 2,200 tickets and a similar number of ticketless fans are expected to travel. Trouble, apart from isolated drink-fuelled idiocy, is not expected, partly through the high drink prices, and partly because there is no one here to fight.

Monaco's average gate is about 5,000 and their club shop is smaller than the burger vans on Sir Matt Busby Way. If it were not for the regal Grimaldi family's subsidy the club would be little bigger than Emley. As it is, they are meeting United on equal terms.

United are staying across the border near Nice but, when they cross into the principality for training at the Stade Louis II tonight, they should feel at home. This is a millionaire's playground after all.

l The Manchester-based bookmaker Fred Done is paying out now to punters who backed United to win the Premiership, irrespective of who wins the title. Within hours, pounds 15,000 had been snapped up.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before