MADRID, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Manchester United coach, Sir Alex Ferguson expects a thrilling encounter when his side take on Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Sir Alex spoke to the press from the press room in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium around an hour and a half after his side's flight from Manchester had landed in Madrid.
Manchester United, who are 12 points ahead of their rivals in the Barclays Premier League, had opted not to train in the ground that will host Wednesday night's game, with their coach implying that the fact his side had played their last league game on Sunday, rather than Saturday as a key factor.
However, despite his players having enjoyed 24 hours less rest than their rivals', he was looking forward to Wednesday's match between Spain's reigning title holders and the English Champions.
"It's a game everyone has been waiting for. It's a fantastic challenge and should be a great game between two sides who embrace the best of football. We're looking forward to it," said Sir Alex, who was impressed by his side's opponents.
"Real Madrid are one of the best counter-attacking teams in Europe, we are aware of that, but we have to play our own game. We try always to win and score, but have to make sure we don't leave the door open," he said, highlighting the need for his team to be tight in defense.
However, despite the need to defend well, he was expecting goals.
"It won't be 0-0, there will be goals tomorrow, I can guarantee that," said Sir Alex, who pinpointed for United player, Cristiano Ronaldo as the man to stop.
"He is at the peak of his career now, he was still a young man when he left us, but I never thought he'd score as many goals as he has done. It's phenomenal what he's done. He has fitness, speed, he's never injured and he plays every week. These are exceptional qualities," commented the Manchester United coach.
While Real Madrid have Ronaldo as their star player, Manchester United will be looking at twin strikers, Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney to do the damage.
"He's approaching the level (of Messi and Ronaldo). He has been sensation al since coming here and a breath of fresh air. He's scored 23 goals and we're delighted with him and he's changed us this year," said Ferguson of Van Persie, before turning his attention to Rooney.
"He's a mature player now at 27, things change with age, such as consistency. Now, for example his goal-scoring is far more consistent. What can I say, he's a terrific player, he's got enthusiasm, desire and he can play," said Ferguson ,who is also content with the progression of young Spanish goalkeeper, David de Gea.
"He came to us very young and couldn't speak the language, he's like a kid learning to walk, he falls down, but he gets up again and now he's walking in the English game," he commented, before explaining the strongest point of his side.
"This team doesn't know when its beaten," he concluded.
Speaking an hour earlier Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho discussed his excellent relationship with the veteran Manchester United coach, who has been in his job since 1986.
Mourinho has been tipped as a possible replacement for Sir Alex at Old Trafford, but resisted the temptation to whether or not he would like his job.
"I will have retired by the time he has," he joked, before discussing Wednesday's game.
"It's the biggest game of this round and the most important and it means a lot in the world of football with everyone expecting a great game," he said.
"I know Sir Alex Ferguson and I think he will want to play a good game. It is always an honor to play against Manchester United and I hope that the return leg we play in Old Trafford in the return leg will not be our last in the competition," commented Mourinho, who was giving little away in terms of his possible team selection.