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Sir Alex predicts brighter times ahead

Sir Alex Ferguson said Manchester United FC "will improve" after their stalemate with Villarreal CF, while his opposite number Manuel Pellegrini was happy to draw, claiming: "They needed the points more than we did."

United coach Sir Alex Ferguson watches his side draw with Villarreal
United coach Sir Alex Ferguson watches his side draw with Villarreal ©Getty Images

Manchester United FC coach Sir Alex Ferguson vowed his side "will improve" after kicking off the defence of their UEFA Champions League title with a goalless draw at home to Villarreal CF in Group E. His opposite number Manuel Pellegrini, meanwhile, was happy to leave Old Trafford with a draw, claiming: "They needed the points more than we did."

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United coach 
Tonight we saw some good football, some good chances. We had lots of positive things and the players enjoyed themselves. We should have won. I decided to field players like [Owen] Hargreaves and Nani so they would play their first competitive match. Villarreal are a strong team and experienced in European games and they played just as I expected them to. It's not the worst result but I would have preferred the three points. The good thing is that the other game in our group [Celtic FC against Aalborg BK] was also a draw. I'm very happy with the team's performance. Cristiano Ronaldo played well in his first match of the season. He was going to score the header but [Carlos] Tévez blocked it. The crowd's support of Cristiano is always there and he deserves it. We have great supporters who don't forget all the good things the boy has done for us. I agree we're still missing something, lacking a bit of sharpness. From today on I know we will improve.

Manuel Pellegrini, Villarreal coach
We have a lot of games to play in the next 27 days and tonight I decided to rest some of our important players for the match on Sunday [at CD Numancia]. I want to make sure all our players have a chance to play and rest as well. We definitely played better in the second half, we had more possession and created a lot more chances than in the first half. I have three strikers who aren't fit and I would have liked to face Manchester with a stronger attack, but we weren't able to. The last time Manchester didn't win at home in Europe was two years ago. We will try to win our next match and qualify for the next round but tonight Manchester United were the home team and the pressure to win was theirs, they needed the points more than we did. Cristiano Ronaldo created more problems for us but then he was fresher than the rest of his team as he came on in the 70th minute. In about ten days' time we expect to have [Giuseppe] Rossi and Nihat [Kahveci] back in the team. If Guille Franco's header had gone in we would be talking of the great goal of the night but he had to react in a split second and it just didn't happen.