| 7.4°C Dublin

Athletic Bilbao deserved to beat us, admits Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

ALEX Ferguson insists he will not be feeling sorry for himself despite watching Manchester United crash out of the Europa League to Athletic Bilbao

The United manager admitted his side got what they deserved, suffering a 5-3 aggregate defeat after losing 2-1 on the night.

But, with a Premier League title to win, there is no time to wonder what might have been.

"Feeling sorry for myself is not an issue for me," he said. "There is a disappointment but analysing the performances is more important and we have an important game on Sunday."

Ferguson confirmed his decision to replace Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs in the second-half was purely to keep them fresh for the trip to Molineux to face Wolves this weekend.

The Scot had long since abandoned any hope of reaching the quarter-finals as, trailing from the first-leg, United fell further behind thanks to Fernando Llorente's excellent volley before Oscar de Marcos doubled their lead in the second-half.

Rooney's 27th goal of the season 10 minutes from time came far too late to have any effect on the overall outcome.

"I don't think we can complain at the result," said Ferguson. "In the second-half in particular, Bilbao were the better team.

"Their first goal was a bad one for us to lose. You can't believe an English team would lose a goal like that to a long ball. Ours was too late to do anything about it."

The defeat brought to an end a woeful season in Europe for United.

Including six disappointing matches in the Champions League, United won just three of their 10 games in Uefa competition.

Thursday night's reverse also means they have lost three games on the trot for the first time since 2004, and the first of those was a dead-rubber of a group game against Fenerbahce.

It represents a startling fall from grace for a team that has reached three of the last four Champions League finals and Ferguson admits he has some analysing to do in order to find out where it all went wrong.

"Trying to analyse this season against others is a bit difficult," he said.

"There is a route in terms of some of the goals we have lost in these tournaments. They have been pretty poor. It has been a disappointing year."