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Mission accomplished for satisfied Sir Alex

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United FC can improve still further after knocking out FC Internazionale Milano with a 2-0 home win while, after praising his opponents, José Mourinho vowed the Nerazzurri will be back.

Sir Alex Ferguson applauds his side
Sir Alex Ferguson applauds his side ©Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson and José Mourinho both agreed that the timing of Manchester United FC's goals early in each half was the key to the UEFA Champions League holders beating FC Internazionale Milano to the quarter-finals. Sir Alex believes United will improve from here and Mourinho agreed they could "win on all fronts" – but promised Inter would return stronger next season.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager
We started well and found the net after a few minutes and at that point I thought we could score again immediately, but we conceded a lot of space to Inter and were lucky at the end of the first half not to concede. What makes me happy is that we confronted a team at their strongest and beat them despite making a few mistakes. I'm sure that by the quarter-finals, we will be better. Inter fielded many players of great experience so I decided to do the same, starting with [Ryan] Giggs and [Paul] Scholes. They played well in the opening minutes, but after the first 20 we slowed our rhythm and Inter had the better of it, creating a couple of good chances.

In the second half we scored early again and that helped us a lot. After our second goal, Inter pressed us in our midfield, but our defence reacted well – Rio Ferdinand and [Nemanja] Vidić in particular did a fantastic job. We played one of the strongest teams in Europe, so I'm really happy at the way we completed our mission.

José Mourinho, Inter coach
United deserved to reach the quarter-finals because they won and did it in a pragmatic way, scoring twice and not conceding in 180 minutes. We must accept the result but this doesn't mean that we played badly. Tonight we put on a great display against mighty opponents and luck didn't help us. We conceded goals after a few minutes in both halves but played with personality despite this, creating three great chances to score and twice hitting the woodwork. Not all defeats are equal and I'm proud of the way my team played against United. I'm sad about the result, but we did everything to beat them. Now have to react to this defeat immediately, starting from tomorrow in training, and try to win the next Serie A match.

United have the same squad from last year, except for [Dimitar] Berbatov, but now they have played together for five or six seasons and are less young and more expert. They played at their maximum physically and mentally and could win on all fronts this season. All the great teams have to experience defeats to grow up and reach great targets; next year with [Davide] Santon and [Mario] Balotelli both one year older, we will grow in experience and will try to go as far as possible in Europe. For the moment, I'm satisfied with what my team showed on the pitch. We are out of the Champions League, but we want to win the Scudetto, and I'm sure we'll reach our goal. We knew that Vidić was strong in the air, especially on dead-balls, but unfortunately we fielded just one player tonight with the right characteristic to fight with him – [Zlatan] Ibrahimović – and for the first goal he was marking [Cristiano] Ronaldo.