Date: 7th April 2009 at 10:37am
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In 1997, Porto’s stake was as high as it gets: they came through the Champions League group stages undefeated and were packed with quality Brazilian players. They were expected to provide a stern test for United in the quarter-finals but instead the Reds blew them away, winning the first leg 4-0 with a majestic performance at Old Trafford.

Something similar wouldn’t go amiss tonight as we have less glorious reasons to remember Porto, our opponents in the Champions League quarter-finals this season: they knocked us out in 2004 en route to winning the competition. And nobody in the United camp forgot it.

‘There’s always a score to settle,’ Fergie said.

‘It’s just a reminder of how fragile the game of football can be. We had a goal wrongly chopped off in the first half, we weren’t pleased with the performance of the referee in the game and they scored in injury time in a game in which we dominated, and we were bitterly disappointed with that.’

However, he warned us not to underestimate Porto: he demands a ‘full-throttle’ performance from his players. It would be high time indeed that United played with a tempo seen in the last 10 minutes against Villa from the very first whistle.