Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson owned up to the selection blunder that nearly cost his side their place in the Europa League at Old Trafford on Thursday night.

Ferguson opted to select a youthful defence in which Chris Smalling was the oldest component at 22. The move nearly backfired spectacularly for, despite taking an early lead through Javier Hernandez, United conceded either side of the interval and by the end were one goal away from going out.

"I have to accept responsibility," said Ferguson. "Playing so many young players in the back four was a big ask."

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