Monday 29 October 2012

Ferguson praise for fast-starting Man United

Scot praises speed with which United took lead at Chelsea and gives credit to nine-man Blues

Javier Hernandez wheels away after scoring Manchester United's winner against Chelsea

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Manchester United enjoyed a slice of good fortune in beating Chelsea but hailed his side's second-half display as they recovered from squandering a two-goal lead to achieve a long-awaited win at Stamford Bridge.

"I couldn't wait for half-time, then they got the second goal and, from that moment, we had to start performing properly and we did that"
Sir Alex Ferguson

The visitors were pegged back by Chelsea when Juan Mata and Ramires cancelled out David Luiz's own goal and Robin van Persie's seventh Barclays Premier League goal of the season.

But United rallied, after the dismissals of Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, to seal their first League win at Chelsea since 2002 thanks to Javier Hernandez's 75th-minute effort.

"It's 10 years since we won here [in the League]," said Ferguson. "It's very difficult to come here and get all the decisions as it's a very difficult place. The crowd played a part, they were terrific and right behind their team, and we buckled in the minutes before and after half-time.

"We gathered ourselves well and got back into the game. We started the game so well. We were absolutely brilliant but then, 10 minutes from half-time, we lost our way a bit.

"I couldn't wait for half-time, to be honest, then they got the second goal and, from that moment, we had to start performing properly and we did that."

"You have to give credit to Chelsea. They never gave in and you saw David Luiz running around like a whirling dervish, that's his desire to get back into the game.

"They gambled - it failed obviously - but they showed great desire to try and win the game."

Di Matteo lauds Chelsea character

Despite Chelsea conceding two goals after just 12 minutes, manager Roberto Di Matteo rued the early stages of the match, after his side fell was full of praise for the "character" they showed to bounce back and restore parity before ultimately coming up short.

"We've got that kind of personality in our dressing room, that we never give up"
Roberto Di Matteo

"Today was a poor start," he said. "We were slow but the first goal was lucky. We had a tough week with three intense games and a long trip to Ukraine. After those first 20 minutes we got into our rhythm and started to play the way we can and the way we want to play.

"We showed great character and responded well to get back into the game and equalise, then had a good number of chances as well. I was confident we could go on and win the game."

Di Matteo added that it was Chelsea's tenacity that got them back in the match and praised United goalkeeper David De Gea for making two crucial saves in an open match.

"We've got that kind of personality in our dressing room, that we never give up," he said. "There were two good teams on the pitch and we looked very strong and caused them a lot of problems. De Gea made a couple of fantastic saves and I was confident we could win the game, they looked vulnerable.”

Chelsea have to face United again on Wednesday in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup, but with Arsenal bound for Old Trafford on Saturday, the Italian admitted that squad rotation might have to be employed in midweek.

"We have to regroup first of all," he said. "We will have a few players missing after we played with nine men and in a week when we had a long trip to Ukraine. I have to see how the players are tomorrow and think about what kind of team I put out on Wednesday.

“We know we have a good and strong team. We just have to ride this moment where we miss a few players, play in three days and get our energy back.

"Today we looked like a team that wanted to win and were very strong out on the pitch. I am sure in the long run this is a team with a lot of qualities.

"Even though we might find moments and situations like this we can come out of it once we get everybody back. We're a good team."

REPORT: Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United

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Key Points

  • Sir Alex Ferguson grateful as Man United end Stamford Bridge hoodoo
  • Ferguson gives credit to Chelsea's battling spirirt after they are reduced to nine men
  • Roberto Di Matteo praises Blues' resilience and "character"