Football: Inter cannot banish doubts

THE CHANCES of Manchester United progressing to the semi-finals of the European Cup appeared to improve yesterday as self-doubt emerged within the ranks of their quarter-final opponents, Internazionale, and fresh concerns arose over the fitness of the Italian side's Brazilian striker, Ronaldo.

Perhaps most worrying for Mircea Lucescu's side, as they seek to overcome the 2-0 deficit they picked up in the quarter-final first leg at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, were the comments made by one of their own players, Paulo Sousa. "We're lacking a game plan," the Portuguese international said. "No one knows which movements to make and that's very serious at our level. No one knows what the others are doing."

Paulo Sousa added that his side will need to show a marked improvement on their 2-2 draw in the Milan derby at the weekend to stand any chance of stifling the ambitions of Alex Ferguson's side. "If we repeat our derby performance, we are certain to lose against Manchester United," he said.

Inter are banking on Ronaldo's return to take them past Ferguson's men and into their first European Cup semi-final in 18 years, but Paulo Sousa said that even the Brazilian's presence was unlikely to be no enough to inspire his side. "We are all happy that Ronaldo is back," the Portuguese playmaker added, "but he alone can not put us in the semi-final."

Whether Ronaldo will actually play much of a role tomorrow remains to be seen. He suffered a headache yesterday that was severe enough to keep him from training.

"Ronaldo didn't train with his team-mates because he felt poorly," an Inter spokesman said. "He had a headache and didn't sleep well last night." The Brazilian played only 45 minutes in the derby against Milan, his first start in Serie A start since 17 January.