Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson was left to lament his side's missed opportunities as Hernán Crespo added another goal to the one he scored at Old Trafford to take AC Milan into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Sir Alex felt that if Ryan Giggs' first-half effort had crept inside the post, the match could have been different. However, he admitted that: "Tonight and over the two games it was Milan's experience that made the difference." His Milan counterpart Carlo Ancelotti was in agreement but also gave credit to his defence who he felt were "perfect".
Sir Alex Ferguson, United manager
It was a game of very high quality and I give credit to Milan for the way they played. My hope was that we could score the goal that could change the game and we had the chance with Giggs in the first half when he hit the post. There was a period right after the break when Milan imposed themselves. I think tonight and over the two games it was Milan's experience that made the difference and obviously when you see the experience of players like Cafu and [Paolo] Maldini, it is fantastic. For me Cafu was the best player tonight. There were occasions when our decision-making was a bit rash like taking shots a bit from far out and making an extra pass but otherwise I don't have any real complaints about the way we played. You have to take your chances when you get them but we were not able to convert ours. Milan are very professional. In the last minute they were still trying to attack instead of wasting time despite leading. They are good enough to go all the way in the Champions League.
Carlo Ancelotti, Milan coach
The first half was very well balanced between the two sides, but in the second United began to push forward allowing us space to attack. In fact, overall the tie was very even between two of the best sides in Europe. I agree with Ferguson when he says that there was just a small difference between us but perhaps experience was the key to our success in the end, although I think that [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Wayne] Rooney will have a bright future. Our approach to the game was also very important though and our defence this evening was perfect - they all played well tonight.
Ruud van Nistelrooij, United striker
We gave everything we had. The turning point of the match was when we hit the post through Giggs. It would have been a different gave if we had taken the lead. We're a young side though and in the end, [Milan's] experience was a big advantage for them. However, we proved that we are not far from their level and I'm sure there is plenty of room for improvement in the next few years.
Hernán Crespo, Milan striker
We won a very difficult tie. United are very strong but we won both games against them, proving we are in great condition. I love playing for Milan. [Andriy] Shevchenko and [Filippo] Inzaghi will soon be back but I'm sure I can still make an important contribution for the team.
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