Sir Alex Ferguson got his wish: a 1-0 win to take the Emirates Stadium for next Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final, second leg. But he couldn’t hide his disappointment at not making the most of United’s dominant display.
The Reds boss admitted United could have all but booked a place in Rome’s final next month, but instead he’ll settle for a slender but certainly advantageous lead at the halfway point.
“Of course you have to be disappointed that we didn’t take more of our chances,” he told reporters. “The goalkeeper [Manuel Almunia] made three fantastic saves. But the pleasing aspect for me was that we said before the game we wanted to score and not concede. We’ve done that.
“The performance level was very good and we have given ourselves a good chance of getting to the final. The tie isn’t over, of course, but we have the players who can score a goal, and we will be a big goal threat at the Emirates.
“We did very well with some terrific play at times. But it was reminiscent of the FA Cup final we had against Arsenal in 2005, where they won on penalty kicks after we’d had so many chances… at least we scored this time! And we haven’t lost an away goal, that is the key to it all.”