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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Ferguson content despite draw

Ferguson content despite draw

September 18, 2008 11:56 IST

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was far from disheartened after Villarreal held out for a 0-0 draw in their Champions League opener at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

With striker Dimitar Berbatov injured and a doubt for the weekend and midfielders Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick also unavailable Ferguson named an unexpected line-up and was not too disappointed with a draw to start their title defence.

"We should have maybe won with the chances we created but there were a lot of plus points for us. Players like Owen Hargreaves, Ji-Sung Park and Nani got their first games for us, which will bring them on well," Ferguson told reporters.

"It's not the worst result. It could have been better but with Celtic and Aalborg drawing it's just the status quo and we wait for the next game. But I was happy with the performance.

"I think we are a bit short in terms of real sharpness and clinical finishing but games will bring us on and we will improve from tonight."

Ferguson said winger Cristiano Ronaldo, back after ankle surgery, deserved the rapturous reception he received on his introduction in the second half.

Ronaldo, who had wanted to move to Real Madrid in the close season, was given a standing ovation as he came on.

"I think he expected that. He knew they are great supporters who have always been behind him and he deserves that. He has given us great moments and the supporters don't forget those things," said Ferguson.

"I think it was important to Cristiano. I think he realises what a great club he's at and how loyal and supportive they are to him and he will take great encouragement from that."

Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini said Ronaldo had made a positive impact for United.

"He did cause us one or two problems, one, because he's a great player and two, he was coming on fresh to the game when there were some tired legs. What hurt us more is that we didn't have enough attacking options," said Pellegrini.

Villarreal held United to two goalless draws in the group stages of the competition in 2005/06 before going onto the semi-finals but Pellegrini is not looking that far ahead yet.

"It's difficult to say at this early stage with Aalborg getting a great point at a difficult ground. All we are concentrating on is getting the three points that are available to us against Celtic next."

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