Inter Milan suffered two defeats at the weekend in the Emirates Cup competition, and coach Roberto Mancini is keen to see an improved performance from his Serie A champions when they face United at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
“If Zlatan Ibrahimovic can play at Old Trafford and we have Maxwell and Dejan Stankovic back we will have a stronger team and will hopefully play better,” said Mancini after Inter’s 2-1 loss to Arsenal on Sunday.
The Nerazzurri finished last in the four-team tournament after going down to the Gunners and Valencia but there were some positives for the San Siro chief, who used the game to give a debut to new signing Cristian Chivu.
“He did well and has been training with Roma [his former club] so is in good shape," said Mancini. "Ibrahimovic had a slight problem so we decided it was best to leave him out of the team. He should play against United.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was reflective over the meaning of his side’s win over the reigning Serie A champions. “They were missing a lot of their South Americans, and Patrick Vieira, of course – although he’s more north London,” joked the Frenchman. "If we were to meet in the Champions League we know it would be a different game.”
In the opening tie of the tournament Inter lost 2-0 to Valencia. The Italians appeared to lack match fitness and they were undone by their rivals’ energy. The Spanish side opened the scoring on 13 minutes when Jaime Gavilan raced to the byline and drove a low shot into the far bottom corner despite Francesco Toldo getting a touch.
Then the lead was doubled after Marco Materazzi fouled Joaquin and Villa curled a marvellous free-kick in off the post, with the aid of a deflection off Gavilan.
Against Arsenal, Inter had taken the lead through David Suazo on 62 minutes but Hleb equalised five minutes later and Robin van Persie hit the winner on 85 minutes. The result meant that the Gunners won the tournament.