What did the media make of our 0-0 draw at the San Siro?
The Daily Mail: If Jose Mourinho is to progress at Old Trafford in two weeks’ time, he is going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. The Porto way. Smash and grab, as it was five years ago. What was proved at the San Siro last night was that, man for man, Manchester United have the better team: and one man for one man, in particular.
Mourinho has built up the bout between Cristiano Ronaldo, the best player in the world, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the man who would like to believe that he is, but had this been in the boxing ring the man in the red corner would have had his arm raised in triumph long before the end. Ibrahimovic postured like a great player, Ronaldo played like one. All he lacked was the sprinkle of luck that would have turned a match-defining performance into a match-winning one.
How was Ronaldo better than Ibrahimovic? Let me count the ways. He was a better header of the ball. A bigger threat from free-kicks. He ran with the ball to greater intent. His shots were more dangerous. And his passing? Well, let’s be generous and call that a draw. Ibrahimovic passed the ball very nicely. Just not very often.
Ronaldo had electrified the San Siro in a way that was beyond compare. Ibrahimovic? The thinking man’s Dimitar Berbatov. He must have some magnificent games while our backs are turned, though.
The Times: Sir Alex Ferguson was content but undeniably frustrated as Manchester United came away from the opening round of the renewal of his rivalry with José Mourinho in the San Siro last night with a narrow edge.
United were unfortunate not to emerge with a more creditable result than a goalless draw against Mourinho’s Inter Milan and Ferguson was left to rue the failure to turn a dominance of possession into a lead to take back to Old Trafford.
United dominated possession in a one-sided first half that showed them to be worthy world and European champions. Mourinho had been as voluble as ever before the match, but the former Chelsea manager was scratching his head midway through the first half as Cristiano Ronaldo and his team-mates threatened to run rings around his Inter players.
United’s dominance was built on solid midfield performances by Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Park Ji Sung, with Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Dimitar Berbatov deployed farther forward.
Ferguson got his tactics spot on, United playing at the high tempo that has often characterised their best European performances, until Inter woke up in the second half. Inter’s frustration was summed up when Francesco Toldo, the substitute goalkeeper, received a yellow card for abusing the referee from the bench on the stroke of half-time.
The Guardian: It is a mark of Manchester United’s expectations that they will be irked neither to have won nor even scored at San Siro. A new record for the Champions League of 20 consecutive games undefeated will have scant relevance for them.
Jose Mourinho had predicted that the visitors would not meet his team “eye to eye”. He was right – and Sir Alex Ferguson had certainly taken a tangential view of the fixture.
United had been entirely true to themselves in the attitude applied to the match. They opened by demonstrating why they were unbeaten in so many European fixtures. There was an ease to the domination they relished at the start of the game. The domination verged on the outlandish.