Patrice Evra knows exactly how Darren Fletcher feels at the prospect of missing out on Manchester United's Champions League final - because he lived for a week with the same dread.
Sir Alex Ferguson is placing his faith in Italian referee Roberto Rosetti to overturn the red card he showed Fletcher on Tuesday night for his late foul on Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas. TV replays showed Fletcher touched the ball before he sent Fabregas flying.
"I am so sorry for Darren Fletcher," said Evra. "The real big bad news about all this is Darren not being able to play in Rome - I am very, very frustrated and disappointed for him and his family."
After picking up a booking in the first leg, Evra knew another would see him miss out as well.
"I played with a lot of pain in my stomach worrying about missing the final," he said. "I said to the boss if we score a third goal I want to come off because I just cannot miss that match. I believed United would get to the final but I wasn't sure I would. It was very painful to play with that on your mind."
Now Fletcher can only wait and hope, and Ferguson is not entirely without that, despite the lack of an appeals procedure in the competition.
"Darren is one of the most honest players in the game and to miss the final is a tragedy. He was distraught," said the Scot of his fellow countryman.
"In respect to the referee in this situation he might look at it himself without anyone asking him. We shouldn't ask him. He's competent and fair enough to look at it himself possibly. Apparently, you can't appeal and if that's the case it's disappointing for the boy."
On his side's performance, Ferguson added: "I think you saw a maturity of performance. We were not overcome by Arsenal's start to the game when they were so aggressive and so attacking. The ball was moving. The crowd was going and we still tried to play football. When we transferred the ball to Ronaldo it was a big problem for them.
"Ronaldo was the difference but if you watch the game and see the movement of (Ji-sung) Park and the running of (Darren) Fletcher you might say 'Who were the star men?' It is very difficult."
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