Sir Alex Ferguson 'distraught' after Man Utd exit to Real Madrid

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Old Trafford
Sir Alex Ferguson is "distraught" after Real loss, says his assistant Mike Phelan

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was too "distraught" to face the media after their Champions League exit against Real Madrid at Old Trafford.

Ferguson was visibly enraged after Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir sent off Nani for a high challenge on Real's Alvaro Arbeloa after 56 minutes with United leading through Sergio Ramos's own goal.

Real took advantage of the dismissal with quick goals from Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo on his return to Old Trafford to confirm a 2-1 win on the night and 3-2 aggregate victory to reach the last eight.

United assistant manager Mike Phelan replaced Ferguson at the post-match media conference and said: "It's a distraught dressing room and a distraught manager. That's why I am sitting here now.

"I don't think the manager is in any fit state to talk to the referee about the decision. It speaks volumes that I am sitting here now rather than the manager of this fantastic football club."

Phelan continued: "We are extremely disappointed and wondering what has happened and why it has happened.

"We feel as though we had the tactics right for the game on such a big occasion. We felt we were comfortable at 0-0. It was where we wanted to be, then we scored the goal that put us in a commanding position.

"We were in reasonable control and then the game totally changed. The decision was amazing but we had to carry on because it is hard enough playing Real Madrid with 11 men.

"Referees are there to make decisions but there is also an element of doing the right thing. All the media and a television audience watching all over the world will have an opinion on the decision but it was a disappointing one and it spoiled the game."


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