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Kamis, 26 Februari 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo in acktion

Cristiano Ronaldo is confident a repeat of their San Siro masterclass will be enough to earn Manchester United a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Apart from a 15-minute spell just after half-time, Sir Alex Ferguson's men controlled the first leg of their last-16 tie with Inter Milan on Tuesday night.

The only downside was a failure to take just one of the numerous chances that came United's way.

Ronaldo went close on five separate occasions and the fear must now be that an away goal for the runaway Serie A leaders might just allow Jose Mourinho to squeeze into the last eight at Ferguson's expense.

Yet Ronaldo remains confident, believing United's performance proved they were the better team.

And he sees no reason why at Old Trafford, where the Red Devils have not lost in Champions League combat for four years, they should not perform even better

"We played better than Inter last night," said Ronaldo.

"We created more chances, especially in the first half, and we deserved to win. At home I feel we have a better chance."

The world player of the year acknowledges the opening goal will be crucial.

A body of opinion in Italy believes that Inter are a more dangerous side on their travels, where they can exploit their strength on the counter-attack while maintaining a defensive solidity.

Yet precious little of either trait was in evidence on Tuesday night, at least until the half-time introduction of centre-back Ivan Cordoba, and Ronaldo is dubious whether Inter are better away from their magnificent home.

"I don't know whether Inter will be a better team in Manchester," said Ronaldo.

"We respect them but in my opinion we have a better chance at Old Trafford because we have a better team."

United flew out of Italy with the plaudits of their hosts ringing in their ears.

Having predicted Ferguson would adopt a cautious approach, Mourinho found his team getting systematically taken apart, with Michael Carrick particularly impressive and Ronaldo looking something like the player who dismantled so many defences at home and abroad last season.

It was just bad luck on his part that Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar should be in equally brilliant form.

Not that he has any sense of foreboding about what is to come.

"It is not a concern, it happens sometimes," he said.

"Their goalkeeper made so many great saves but overall it was a fantastic performance. The lads were brilliant and I am very proud to have been part of a team that played like that.

"I know we didn't score but if we play like that in the second leg, I think we will win

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