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2006-09-13: Manchester United 3-2 Celtic, Champions League - "Great Fans" - Alex Ferguson
'We could have scored 10' Ferguson praises his attack as well as Celtic for 'having a go', writes Tim Rich
HAVING played for and supported Rangers and grown up in the shadow of Ibrox's floodlights, it might be thought praising Celtic would hardly come easily to Sir Alex Ferguson.
"We have a lot of teams that come to Old Trafford, put five across the middle and hope to nick a goal,'' Ferguson said. "The spirit of the game was created by the Celtic fans and I wish every club would bring 6,000 supporters. Sometimes they come to Old Trafford half asleep, waiting to be entertained.
"Last year Lille came here and put 10 men behind the ball and had not one bloody shot at goal. That kind of football really depresses me. But Celtic went out and had a right go.
"When we go to Glasgow to face Celtic the atmosphere will be fantastic. But we have had a good start to the campaign and we go to Benfica now. It will be bloody different to the last time we played there [when United lost 2-1], I can tell you.''
Ferguson may have been pleased by the openness and grit of the side Gordon Strachan sent out but he was withering in his assessment of Celtic's ability to resist his team's attack.
"We could have scored 10 to be honest with you. Artur Boruc made three fantastic saves. Louis Saha could have beaten the European goalscoring record on his own. Saha has got everything a striker should have but he has to stay fit because he has had a terrible record with injury.''
Ferguson, however, thought Paul Scholes, returning after a three-match suspension, was his man of the match. The only real negatives was that Ryan Giggs, whose form has propelled Manchester United to the summit of the Premiership, will miss Sunday's encounter with Arsenal and his most obvious replacement, Ji-Sung Park, will be absent for three months after he undergoes an ankle operation today.
For the Celtic manager, Gordon Strachan, what might have been a wonderfully romantic evening turned on the penalty Giggs won that levelled the scores after Jan Venegoor of Hesselink's opener.
"It was no penalty but I can live with that,'' he said. "I am not slamming or blasting the referee, you can see that from the tone I am taking. The referee has made one mistake, we have made numerous ones.''
(c) 2006 Telegraph Group Limited, London
The Daily Telegraph
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