Capello hails United's winning spirit
England coach Fabio Capello has lauded treble-chasing Manchester United's "winning spirit" ahead of their UEFA Champions League semi-final showdown with Schalke and the Italian's former Real Madrid captain Raul.
United, who are still chasing the treble this season, booked a last-four European showdown with Schalke after seeing off Chelsea this week while the German surprise package dumped out holders Inter Milan 7-3 on aggregate.
Schalke have proven they are no pushovers and Capello believes the winter break in the Bundesliga - something he has called for in England - has benefited the "fresh" Germans.
However, Capello has also heaped praise on United, who boast a healthy advantage at the top of the Premier League and face Manchester City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup this weekend as they challenge for trophies on three fronts.
Speaking after picking up an award from Spanish sports daily Marca, Capello said: "The Germans are dangerous at this moment because they are fresh. After their winter break, they are running like teams normally do in November and December.
"But the spirit that Manchester United have is a winning spirit, they are a very strong team, their fans give them a lot of support, when they have difficulties they back them very very well. They have players capable of creating chances at any moment and scoring goals. They are also very dangerous at set-pieces."
Awaiting either United or Schalke in the final will be one of the two Spanish superpowers Real Madrid or Barcelona, who themselves are both still in the hunt for the treble this season.
If Madrid and Schalke get through it would set up an emotional meeting for Spanish veteran Raul against his former club, who he left last summer after 16 hugely successful years at the Bernabeu.
Capello, who coached Raul twice during separate spells in charge of Madrid, said of the prolific 33-year-old: "I'm very happy for Raul. He's a friend. He's an extraordinary player, a very serious worker. A team man.
"He's very good and if you aren't focused on him he can score at any time. His movement is always dangerous."