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Fergie makes his case for defence.

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Manchester United must be prepared for an early onslaught from Marseille tonight, according to veteran manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Premier League leaders host the French champions at Old Trafford in the Champions League last-16 second leg, with the tie delicately poised at 0-0.

Marseille come into the game knowing that, should they score, United will find it difficult to break down their back-line - one of the stingiest in Europe. It's almost six months since Didier Deschamps' dogged defence were breached in this competition, a run that has seen them keep clean sheets in their past five matches.

However, Fergie is more concerned with his opponents' attacking prowess tonight, although he insists he's confident United will make the quarter-finals.

"They'll be planning on how they're going to score a goal and I think they'll try to start the game very quickly, that's a certainty, and we have to be prepared for that part," the wily Scot said. "But as the game unfolds, you hope you take your opportunities.

"I went to watch Marseille play in Rennes - who are second in the league - on Friday night to get a better idea of how they play away from home and we've also seen them play at Monaco so we've done our homework."

United are expected to recall experienced duo Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs to the starting line-up after they were rested in Saturday's FA Cup win over Arsenal, while the three-time European champions also received a boost with news that Nani has returned to training earlier than first thought.

Fergie, though, admits he isn't keen to rush the winger back from the horror tackle sustained against Liverpool 10 days ago.

"Nani has had the stitches removed and has a chance for [tonight]," he said. "He's done some work on the bike, but the problem is that he hasn't trained yet."

Meanwhile, Marseille defender Souleymane Diawar has backed his team-mates to stay strong in the face of United's fierce frontline and send the side through to the last eight for the first time since they won the title in 1993.

"We will have to show solidarity, be strong," Diawar said. "It will be a totally different match compared to the first leg. "At home they score a lot of goals. We will have to make sure that they are not able to do so. We will not let anything go."

In tonight's other fixture, Bayern Munich entertain reigning champions Inter Milan at the Allianz Arena. The German giants, who lost the final to the Nerazzurri last year, will be looking for revenge and lead 1-0 from the first leg at the San Siro.

This article was originally published by www.7days.ae.

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Article Type:Reprint
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Mar 15, 2011
Words:475
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