Manchester United v Real Madrid: The whole world will stop to watch this one, says Jose Mourinho ahead of Champions League tie

Madrid manager promises his side will be bold at Old Trafford tonight in eagerly anticipated European clash

Jose Mourinho said that the "world would stop" to watch Manchester United's Champions League last 16 second leg game against his Real Madrid side on Tuesday night, and proclaimed that his team would have to "attack and be bold" with the advantage in their opponents' favour. The 50-year-old said that Madrid, who arrived in Manchester on Sunday night, were in such a state of readiness that they could have played the match last night, having won two consecutive games in cup and league against Barcelona.

Earlier, Sir Alex Ferguson said that United would not be preoccupied with the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo in case they "forget some of the things we can do ourselves".

One of the most eagerly awaited Champions League ties in recent years is delicately poised at 1-1 from the first leg, with both sides relatively free of injury problems. United will be without Phil Jones, who failed to recover from an ankle injury he suffered two weeks ago, and Mourinho confirmed last night that his goalkeeper Iker Casillas has not been passed fit for selection.

There is a range of attacking options at Ferguson's disposal to the extent that there are even doubts about Wayne Rooney's place in the side. The 27-year-old started against Norwich City on Saturday and scored, although the tendency is for Ferguson to make his mind up on selections well in advance of big games. The United manager claimed yesterday that he would make a final decision on his team this morning.

Mourinho was in a relatively subdued mood at his press conference at Old Trafford today but he captured the level of interest in the game when he said that it was two big clubs in a run of good form facing each other in a game that felt like a final. Asked what might be the decisive factor in the match, he initially said he had "no idea".

"That is the one million dollar question: what will make the difference? Nobody knows and the world will stop to watch this tie. It doesn't look a tie. It looks a final. I doubt the expectation can be bigger than this.

"They [United] are in a fantastic run, better than ever. They are in the FA Cup quarter-final, they are winning the Premier League already in March and haven't lost a match in months. We are also in good form in 2013, 15 matches with one defeat is quite a good one."

Ferguson said that the stage was set for a game on a par with the 4-3 win for United against Madrid 10 years ago, which ended in United's elimination, 6-5 on aggregate.

"As European nights go you don't get much bigger," he said. "We're talking about two clubs with great history. It's set up to be potentially a marvellous game and I don't think it will disappoint either."

Ferguson agreed that United's defensive approach would be crucial. "That will probably be the key to the game. I believe they are one of the best counter-attacking teams in Europe. That showed itself last week at the Nou Camp [in the first of the two wins over Barcelona].

"They were absolutely stunning on the counter-attack so we have to find a way of coping with that but also having our own threat in an attacking sense."

On Saturday it will be nine years to the day since Mourinho's Porto scored a last-minute equaliser to eliminate United at the same stage of the competition on their way to winning the Champions League. Mourinho said that in the event of victory tonight he would curb the instinct that saw him slide on his knees on the Old Trafford touchline.

"It [the game] means the same. I live the situation with a different approach, with different emotions. To win a big match is the same now, the same nine years ago.

"To lose is the same but the approach is completely different. That match was my first season playing Champions League football. Now I have more than 100 matches and I think I can control my emotions a different way. If I lose, I don't cry and if I win I don't run 100 metres. But in the end is the same."

Ronaldo's team-mate Xabi Alonso said that the former United man's first return to Old Trafford would not affect his performance.

"I don't think so. He is looking forward. Before the game, I think he will have a great reception but once the game kicks off, he will just be thinking about doing the best for our team. Hopefully, it will be a great night for him."

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there