Sport

Sir Alex Ferguson insists Champions League exit haunts Manchester United as Chelsea strike back in FA Cup

By Chris Bailey

Sir Alex Ferguson admits an emotional Manchester United have still not recovered from their Champions League heartbreak after escaping with a draw against Chelsea in the FA Cup.

First-half goals from Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez did not prove enough to seal a Wembley appearance, as Chelsea stormed back with Eden Hazard and Ramires strikes in the second 45.

Ferguson blamed Tuesday’s loss against Real Madrid as the cause for United’s lack of spark – both disappointment and tiredness taking its toll.

“I’m happy with a draw after the second-half to be honest with you,” said the Scot.

“I think the obvious thing was that our two full-backs and two centre-midfielders ran out of gas.

“The emotions and intensity of Tuesday night caused us problems – in that area we were up against it.

“I can understand it as Tuesday was a big game but it was the tiredness I think, especially the young players like [Tom] Cleverley and Rafael.”

The Red Devils will now have to travel to Stamford Bridge to fight for a semi-final place – against none other than arch-rivals Manchester City.

Ferguson – who is not thinking ahead to a derby date just yet – insists it was the heroics of Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans which kept United in the running.

“The two centre-backs are the reason we’re still in the cup – they were fantastic,” he said. “They had to be because we kept giving the ball away.

“There’s no problem with an extra game – I’m just happy to be still in the cup. First thing we have to do is to go to Stamford Bridge and win.”

Image courtesy of BBC Sport, via YouTube, with thanks

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