Fergie relishing Mourinho reunion
© AFP

Sir Alex Ferguson can't wait to lock horns with Jose Mourinho again after Manchester United were handed a UEFA Champions League second round showdown against Inter Milan.

Ferguson enjoyed a good relationship with Mourinho when the Portuguese coach was in charge at Chelsea, even though the pair were often competing directly for the game's top prizes. Mourinho took over at Inter earlier this year and the old friends will go head to head at the San Siro and Old Trafford in late February and early March, giving Ferguson the chance to gain a measure of revenge for Mourinho's victory over United when he was at Porto in 2004.

"It'll be interesting to come up against Jose again. He's a character with a good personality and I've always got on well with him," Ferguson told MUTV. "He knocked us out of the competition when he was at Porto, so I hope we have the luck they had in that tie this time round."

Ferguson conceded that the Italian champions will pose a significant threat to United's bid to retain Europe's top club prize. "They've had a tremendous domestic record in recent years and that speaks volumes for the consistency of their team," he said.

"They've also got a lot of experience in their team which includes quite a few South American players. In fact I think they've only got two Italians in their team. So that in itself represents a tough challenge because you know that South American players defensively are always very tough and resilient players.

It'll be interesting to come up against Jose again. He's a character with a good personality and I've always got on well with him.
Sir Alex Ferguson on meeting Jose Mourinho.

"We've played against most of their players over the years and faced them in a friendly last year at Old Trafford. So we know all about them. Hopefully we can do the job there in the first game and give ourselves a platform to take back to Old Trafford."

Ferguson believes that taking part in such a showpiece game will bring the best out of his players and help them overcome a stern test. "Playing against the bigger teams brings a better focus and concentration to our game as we showed against Barcelona last season," he added. "We knew the most important thing we had to do in that tie was to concentrate and our concentration in both games was terrific.

"The San Siro is a great stadium to play in. When we played them in the quarter-final back in 1999 they had a few problems with the pitch and had relaid it just a couple of weeks before we went there. But now it seems to be very good.

"We've lost two semi-finals to AC Milan there so we want to go there and do better. This is stage when the competition gets going and I think all the English teams have a good chance. I'm happy with our draw."