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Ferguson hails Nani class

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hailed the impact of substitute Nani after his side’s 2-1 win over Reading in the FA Cup fifth round.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hailed the impact of substitute Nani after his side’s 2-1 win over Reading in the FA Cup fifth round.

The Portugal international came off the bench shortly before half-time for the injured Phil Jones and went on inspire the hosts to victory.

The 26-year-old struck the post before finding the net after the break to put United ahead. He then helped double the hosts’ lead with an assist for Javier Hernandez’s goal.

“His contribution was terrific,” Sir Alex told the club’s official website.

“Just after coming on he had two great strikes, one hit the post and the other one was saved. In the second half he got us the opening goal and I had the feeling he would win the match for us.

“I think he deserved it. He’s a fantastic talent. You could see he was right on form when he came on. He’s a good addition. If he keeps that form, it makes my job more difficult.”

Jobi McAnuff pulled a late goal back for the Royals to set up a nervy finish but Ferguson was pleased with the way his side held on.

“It ended up a really good tie. When they got their goal, they went for it,” the Scot said.

“They hurled the ball into the box, hoping to get that vital touch, but we withstood that. And I think, when you analyse it, we played some great football.

“We could have scored a lot of goals. We made some chances – we had shots blocked, the goalkeeper’s made some saves, I’m really satisfied with the quality of the game. We really should have punished them better.”

Reading boss Brian McDermott, meanwhile, was pleased with his side’s spirit.

“Playing United you can easily lose 4-0 but when we got it back to 2-1 and almost scored… well, it was just terrific,” he said.

“To come here and perform as well as we did will be good for us going into the last games of the season. United got frustrated but they’ve got top quality players.

“It makes you think when they can bring on players like Robin van Persie as well. When he was warming up I did speak to him and told him to sit down.

“We really wanted to put on a performance for our fans and we have done that. We’ve enjoyed the night but not the result. My ‘keeper Adam Federici made some great saves and you need a few decisions to go in your favour.”

Tue 19 February, 2013
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