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United out for revenge over Mourinho

Manchester United will be motivated by revenge when Sir Alex Ferguson's side face Jose Mourinho and Inter Milan in the Champions League last 16.

sports Updated: Dec 19, 2008 19:29 IST

Manchester United will be motivated by revenge when Sir Alex Ferguson's side face Jose Mourinho and Inter Milan in the Champions League last 16.

United were paired with the Italian champions in Friday's draw in Nyon, throwing up a clash of managerial giants as Ferguson goes head to head with Mourinho for the second time in Europe's elite club competition.

Mourinho, who also enjoyed an impressive record against Ferguson during his time in charge at Chelsea, knocked United out of the Champions League in 2004 when he was in charge at Porto and famously celebrated the decisive goal with a jubiliant jig down the Old Trafford touchline.

Ferguson's holders would love to get their own back in the two-leg tie to be played on February 24 or 25 and March 10 or 11.

"Porto went on to win the competition that year, but we'll be trying to put one over on Jose this time and get the result the fans and the club want," United director of communications Phil Townsend told Sky Sports News.

"We've only met Inter once before in the tournament in 1999 and we went on to win the competition. Hopefully it's a good omen.

"The manager looks to break records and make history. It would be a fantastic achievement to retain the Champions League."

Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri will make an emotional return to Chelsea after the Italians were drawn against last season's runners-up.

Ranieri spent four years at Stamford Bridge before being sacked by Roman Abramovich in 2004. Nicknamed "the tinkerman" for his constant team rotation, Ranieri is still thought of fondly at the west London club and is guaranteed a warm welcome back.

"It could have been a lot worse. It obviously brings Claudio Ranieri back to the Bridge and I'm sure he will get a good reception from the supporters," Chelsea secretary David Barnard said.

"But if we can take our away form in the Premier League into the Champions League we will fear no-one."

One of the ties of the round pits Liverpool against Real Madrid for the first time since the 1981 European Cup final, which Liverpool won 1-0 in Paris.

The clash sends Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez back to Madrid, where he was born and started his coaching career with Real's youngsters.

"It couldn't really be any bigger. It's a mouth-watering tie," Liverpool secretary Bryce Morrison said.

"In recent history we have had some fantastic successes in Spain. I'm sure Rafa is happy about going back to Madrid again."

Arsenal will hope their trip to face Roma in the second leg won't be the last time they visit the Italian capital this season.

Rome's Stadio Olympico is the host venue for May's Champions League final and Arsenal director Danny Fiszman said: "We stayed away from Barcelona, who are favourites, and Panathinaikos, which would have meant a long trip.

"We've got a good record against Roma, so we are pleased with the draw. We hope it will be a dress rehersal for the final."

First Published: Dec 19, 2008 19:27 IST