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Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson pinpointed the return of key players and a longer period of recuperation in the build-up to the quarter-final decider as the decisive factors in his side's 1-0 win at FC Porto – the first by an English club away to the Portuguese giants. Analysing the 3-2 aggregate loss, Porto assistant José Gomes – who was at the helm in the absence of suspended head coach Jesualdo Ferreira – insisted his charges deserved to progress to a semi-final against Arsenal FC over the two matches but believed the tie was settled by "the best player in the world": United's second-leg match-winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sir Alex Ferguson, United manager
It was a very good result for us in a difficult game. There were two main reasons for our improvement when compared with the first game. We had some important players back in the team and we had four days to rest instead of the two we had one week ago. That's very important, especially in a competition like this one. Ryan Giggs' experience was crucial and Wayne Rooney's energy was just amazing. It's great to see a player like him on the pitch because he's still so young and never stops for a second. Cristiano Ronaldo's goal was sensational. He played a lone role but did well. I need to think hard to remember a better goal than this one. To start a game with a goal like that is just amazing and the perfect way to turn the tie around. Porto had to chase us and they didn't have any chances to score. They played very well in the first half at Old Trafford but we were better in the second half, before they were lucky to score a last-minute goal. We came here to win the match. There was little separating the two teams in this tie but I think overall we deserved to qualify. Now we will face Arsenal and it would be great to win the first leg 1-0. They play great football but this is an entirely different clash from the ones in the Premier League. Let's see what happens.
José Gomes, Porto assistant coach
The feeling is very unpleasant and with a flavour of injustice for all we did in these two games against Manchester United. We started the match with the same players and we approached the game as we always do. I think everybody at the club can feel proud of what we did, knowing that this was not what we wanted from the tie. We wanted more and we deserved to qualify for the last four. However, we are talking about facing the best team in the world, the European champions. The scorer of their goal is quite simply the best player in the world. It's very hard to find any team capable of playing like we did at Old Trafford, including English teams. Ernesto Farías allowed us to have more presence in United's area and that worked well but in the end we didn't manage to score.
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