Ferguson content despite draw

PA Sport
Sir Alex Ferguson
.

View photo

Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was upbeat in his assessment of his team's performance against Benfica despite seeing them held to a 2-2 draw in Tuesday's Champions League Group C clash at Old Trafford.

The Portuguese visitors took a shock lead in the fourth minute through Phil Jones' own goal but United equalised on the half-hour when Dimitar Berbatov headed in Nani's centre. Darren Fletcher put the hosts in front 14 minutes after the break, only for Pablo Aimar to draw things level again seconds later, leaving Ferguson's men needing a point from their trip to Basle next month to qualify for the last 16 - and their chances of winning the group looking slim.

The Scot, though, felt his side deserved more for their efforts, saying: "I think we did well. It is hard when you lose a goal straight away in a match and it took us a bit of a while to get our rhythm going again, but once we did we played really well. We didn't deserve what happened [on Tuesday], but football can be like that."

He added: "If we had had just a few minutes after we had scored the second goal I think we would have been okay, but it was too early to lose that second goal."

Benfica's second goal came when United goalkeeper David de Gea's poor clearance fell to Bruno Cesar, whose cross bounced off Rio Ferdinand and was converted from close range by Aimar.

But Ferguson refused to criticise his goalkeeper - or Jones for diverting in the opener - and was keen to praise Berbatov, who scored his first Champions League goal in three years but also missed a good late chance to make it 3-2 when he volleyed over the bar.

"The first goal was unfortunate - you don't expect that," Ferguson said. "The ball is fired in through a ruck of players and unfortunately for young Phil it has cannoned off him. It is just one of the things that happen in football.

"With the second one, obviously David should have just put it in the terracing, but he is confident on the ball and he expresses himself always that way. I'm not blaming him in any way.

"Berbatov could have scored a hat-trick. He missed that opportunity near the end which was a bit unlucky - he could have maybe taken it down - but nonetheless, he played very well.

"We always know there is a goal in Dimitar, you always know he has the ability to turn the game and that is why we played him. He is always in my thoughts."

View Comments (0)