independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Fergie and players distraught over controversial defeat to Real Madrid

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson reacts angrily to Nani's red card

Jose Mourinho admitted Real Madrid did not deserve to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a controversial 2-1 win (agg 3-2) over 10-man Manchester United.

The Spanish giants looked on course to exit Europe's grandest club competition when Sergio Ramos' own-goal gave United the initiative in the second leg at Old Trafford.

But the encounter was turned on its head when Nani was given what seemed a harsh red card in the 56th minute for a mid-air challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa.

Luka Modric levelled on the night and on aggregate with a spectacular strike from distance 10 minutes later and, inevitably, United old boy Cristiano Ronaldo scored what proved to be the winner shortly afterwards.

While much of the attention was focused on Nani's sending off, Mourinho preferred to salute the efforts of his opponents.

"Independent of the decision, the best team lost. We didn't play well, we didn't deserve to win but football is like this," the Portuguese said in his post-match interview.

Alex Ferguson was so incensed by the decision he refused to speak to the media after the match, leaving the job to his assistant Mike Phelan.

"There's a very distraught dressing-room and a distraught manager in there. That's why I'm here," said Ferguson's right-hand man.

However, Ferguson's one-time captain Roy Keane risked infuriating his former employers by insisting that Portuguese international Nani couldn't argue with the decision.

"It's not deliberate but he has to be aware of players around him. The referee got it right. It was dangerous play. It's a red card," said Keane, speaking on ITV after the game.

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