Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has accused Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United of parking the bus at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Spanish champions were held to a 1-1 draw by the Premier League leaders on Wednesday evening, in the first leg of the Champions League knock-out round tie between the clubs.
United took the lead after 20 minutes, with youngster Danny Welbeck heading past Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez. The hosts responded 10 minutes later though, with ex-United star Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a header of his own.
The scored remained unchanged over the next hour but that was largely because of a superb performance by United goalkeeper David De Gea, who kept out shots from Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Fabio Coentrao, Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil.
"They came here to defend and not to concede goals or space. They didn't play to win. We have players of great potential and we can score goals. I don't feel pressure. At Old Trafford we have the perfect conditions to win," Mourinho said after the game.
Ferguson, for his part, was pleased with the result and understandably had special praise for his Spanish goalkeeper, who has come under severe criticism this season. He will hope this performance, against what is arguably one of the finest attacking sides in the world, will restore his reputation.
"David was excellent and produced three or four really top saves. He's improving all the time. I'm pleased for the boy. This is a difficult place to come and we would have taken 1-1 before the game," Ferguson declared.
The Scot remains confident his side can complete the win at Old Trafford, when the two sides meet for the second leg on 6 March.
He will know, however, that his side wasted at least one glorious chance to return from Spain with a priceless lead. Dutch striker Robin van Persie was the culprit - the ex-Arsenal man hit the post after being presented with an open goal and then had an effort cleared off the line by ex-Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso.
" We had a really good start to the second half and, all in all, created a lot of chances with good attacking football at times but we've not had the possession we should have. Real won the possession without question but they were at home and it's a difficult place to come," Ferguson explained, concluding, "I've got to be pleased. The players dug in and got the result. It takes us back to Old Trafford with a great chance."
Jones on Madrid Match
United defender Phil Jones has admitted frustration after the English club missed a chance to win against Madrid.
"The lads were disappointed in the changing room after the game because we all felt that we could have scored more than the one goal. We had the chances and with a bit more luck some of them might have gone in. At the break we said we just had to show some more belief. We know we can play some good stuff and we did that in the second half. If Robin's effort had gone in over the keeper and also past him at the end it could have been 3-1," he said.