Fergie defiant after Benfica draw


Sir Alex Ferguson refused to cut a dispondant figure following Manchester United's 2-2 draw against Benfica last night.

The Red Devils now need a point in Basle to secure progression into the knockout phase of the competition, with the Portuguese outfit now in control of their own destiny at the top of the Group C table.

Phil Jones' own goal had put the visitor in-front before goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher appeared to set United on their way to victory. However, Pablo Aimar took advantage of a poor David de Gea clearance 80 seconds later and the spoils were shared.

It leaves Ferguson's side with the ominous task of a potential last 16 meeting against Barcelona, but the Scot rejected claims that his side were 'struggling' in the competition.

“I just hope we are in the situation of finishing second, because I don’t think Benfica will lose. Basle is going to be a hard game and the chips are down for us but I have every confidence in my team. We are OK. It is a cruel game at times and it was cruel for us tonight,” said Ferguson post-match.

"It makes it a bit harder, of course, but maybe the bigger game would suit us anyway. The opportunities are there to play Inter, Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

"You have to judge that this way – if you played them in the semi-final or the final, you would be only too delighted, knowing the possibility is to win the trophy. This way, we can do it in the next round, although the clubs we will face will know that too.

“Struggling? Thank you. Are you serious? Hold on – we are not struggling.”

On the performance of his side at Old Trafford, Ferguson was content with the efforts of his players despite the disappointing result.

After going behind early, United battled back to get into a winning position, only to throw it away with a freakishly quick response.

"I think we did well. It is hard when you lose a goal straight away in a match and it took us a bit of a while to get our rhythm going again, but once we did we played really well," he added.

"We didn't deserve what happened tonight, but football can be like that. If we had had just a few minutes after we had scored the second goal I think we would have been OK, but it was too early to lose that second goal."

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