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Home > Sports > Football > UEFA Champions League 2005-06 > Reuters > Report

Ferguson defends his strikers

November 23, 2005 11:58 IST

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson refused to blame his strikers following another toothless display in their 0-0 Champions League draw with Villarreal in Manchester on Tuesday.

United failed to score for the seventh time in eight matches in the competition, not including qualifiers, and are struggling to reach the knockout stages with one game left.

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They have progressed from the group stage for the last nine seasons.

"Some of our attacking play was very good," Ferguson told a news conference. "We were a bit unlucky with the early chances but that's just the way it goes for you sometimes in Europe.

"You have to look at the overall performance and I thought we played OK tonight."

United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy did not have a genuine chance to continue his impressive scoring record in the competition, but Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo were all guilty of missed opportunities.

"Ruud's record is second to none except maybe [Real Madrid's] Raul," Ferguson said. "Paul might have done better with a couple of goals under his belt and Wayne and Cristiano as well."

Ferguson did admit that his young team lacked patience as the Villarreal defenders closed the game out.

"It was frustrating but Villarreal have very experienced players like [Alessio] Tacchinardi and [Juan Pablo] Sorin and they did their jobs very well and made it hard for us," Ferguson said.

The Scot was at least boosted by the return from injury of striker Louis Saha, whom he sent on as a late substitute.

"He looked very fit and athletic and I thought he did well," Ferguson said.

Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini said the fact United had scored only two goals in five games was possibly more a reflection on the nature of Group D.

"Considering the attacking players and flair they have it is perhaps surprising," Pellegrini said.

"But we like to think we have a potent attack too and we haven't scored many goals either so it may be more about what has become a very, very tight group."

UEFA Champions League 2005-06: The Complete Coverage
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