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Feb 25, 2009

Jose denies he snubbed Fergie at San Siro

Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho may not have shaken hands after Tuesday's Champions League tie between their respective clubs and certainly disagreed about the quality of Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo but Inter Milan's boss insists the pair "are always friends". Mourinho was distinctly unimpressed with Cantalejo's handling of the goalless game, seeing four of his players booked, including substitute goalkeeper Francesco Toldo who was yellow carded for protesting by the touchline.

He said: "The referee did not please me in the slightest, but I don't want to talk about details.

"But if we can have a referee like this at Old Trafford, it would be fantastic.''

But Manchester United boss Ferguson felt the official was on top of his game, having refused to let Mourinho's mind games affect him.

"The referee was first class," said Ferguson. "He wasn't intimidated, which is probably what Jose wanted."

Ferguson was ultimately disappointed with the outcome given United dominated the Serie A leaders, especially in the first half, without getting the precious away goal they so richly deserved.

"I am disappointed we have not won the game," admitted Ferguson, who has one victory in 13 attempts against the former FC Porto and Chelsea boss. "I realise the tie is not finished but we have given ourselves a great chance."

Mourinho had left pitchside at the San Siro without a glance towards Ferguson but the enigmatic Portuguese denied he had blanked the Manchester United manager but explained: "My dugout is a special dugout because we have a door which gives me the chance to leave it directly."

"Yesterday I left a £300 bottle of wine in the hotel with a note saying we would meet each other after the game at Old Trafford.

"I am always close to him and we are always friends and I will be there for him after the second game."

Mourinho has not forgotten Ferguson's taste in wine from the days when they locked horns in the Premier League, but knows his side will have to be on form at Old Trafford for his post-match drink with Ferguson to be a celebratory one for the Inter coach.

"We have got to take the first chance which comes our way," he added.

"We need 100% efficiency, that means the first chance we get must be a goal."

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