Alex Ferguson slammed his team on Tuesday after seeing Manchester United lose 2-1 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final first leg and striker Wayne Rooney injured.
“We didn’t play well enough, to be honest. We kept giving the ball away,” said Ferguson after his side conceded an injury-time Ivica Olic goal that evoked memories of the famous 1999 Champions League final between the two.
However, the Scot remained upbeat for the second leg at home next Wednesday, saying: “Well, Old Trafford will be a different game obviously … we’ll play better and we won’t be giving the ball away the way we did tonight.”
“We’ve got the away goal and that’s an advantage.”
To add injury to insult for the three-time European champions, talismanic striker Rooney limped off the field after giving the visitors the advantage with a left-foot volley with only 66 seconds on the clock.
“He’s got a kick in the ankle, we’ll just have to see tomorrow. Let’s hope it’s not too serious,” said Ferguson, echoing the thoughts of England fans everywhere with just over two months to go until the World Cup in South Africa.
Ferguson said Rooney, who has been on prolific goal-scoring form, netting 34 times this season, “may be doubtful” for Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with Chelsea in the English Premier League but added: “It’s too early to tell.”
Summing up the game, Ferguson said it was “a disappointing performance possession-wise” but handed credit to United’s German opponents who, he said, were the better side.
Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, left stranded by a Franck Ribery free kick mid way through the second half – which took a deflection off Rooney – and beaten from close range by Olic in the second minute of injury time, paid tribute to Bayern’s “never-say-die” spirit.
“German teams are never beaten until they are on their way to the airport. It’s hard to take,” he said.
For his part, Bayern’s Dutch coach Louis van Gaal said the win was “highly-deserved.”
“We conceded a goal in the first minute that we never should have done. That was a shock. We needed 10 minutes to recover from and after that, we were the better team.”
“We have a good chance also in Manchester, because we can always score a goal away from home.”
Bayern will hope to welcome back their own talisman, Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who sat out the clash with United after picking up a calf injury in Saturday’s defeat against Stuttgart.
Belgian defender Daniel van Buyten also stressed the Bayern team’s will to win after a run of poor results that has seen them slip off the top of the Bundesliga.
“Of course, we started the game very badly, but we never gave up hope. We played a full 90 minutes knowing that we could win.”
German international striker Mario Gomez, who came on as a second-half substitute, said the 66,000 fans inside the Allianz Arena had pulled the team through.
“The crowd carried us. I have only very rarely experienced an atmosphere like that in a match,” he said.