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United forwards the difference for Sir Alex

Manchester United FC's Sir Alex Ferguson was grateful to his strikers in victory against Olympique de Marseille – who "missed an opportunity" according to Didier Deschamps.

United forwards the difference for Sir Alex
United forwards the difference for Sir Alex ©UEFA.com

Stretched by injuries and a hectic schedule, Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson was happy to take the slenderest of 2-1 wins against Olympique de Marseille in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 decider. His OM counterpart, Didier Deschamps, bemoaned his team's inability to land the killer blow having forced United on to the ropes late on.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager
It was nervy because players kept coming off with injuries. It unshifted the balance of the team. [John] O'Shea came off and we did want to bring [Darron] Gibson on. On the hamstring injuries, you've got to remember the games we've had over the last couple of weeks – Chelsea, Liverpool away and Arsenal in the FA Cup – it's a big demand on the players.

The problem for us tonight was always going to be height because of their danger from set pieces. The partnership between Wayne [Rooney] and Javier [Hernández] is developing well. Where Wayne's been playing in the last couple of games, he's a real threat because he's got such power and speed with the ball. Hernandez is unbelievable, his movement: for the goal; in, out, in, out.

[Paul] Scholes, [Ryan] Giggs, Rooney and [Michael] Carrick did very well for us. [Antonio] Valencia made an outstanding 45 minutes' contribution. We're a good side once we get the ball down and start playing.

Didier Deschamps, Marseille coach
It was not a great Manchester team, they had a lot of absentees. I think we missed an opportunity because we had the chances. We conceded twice but there was room to do better. Manchester have great players up front and it was the difference even if they were not on top form.

What we lack is being used to that level. Even if they lacked some players, they played at a very high level of football. There are regrets. We were very shy in the first 20-25 minutes. The stakes, the atmosphere can explain that. I have young players in my team and it was difficult at Old Trafford.

We improved after that and we finally competed. At 2-1, I really felt that they were nervous. Unfortunately we failed to score the second goal. In such games you need to approach them quite relaxed and I felt the players were a bit tense. We tried but it was not to be.