Sir Alex Ferguson saluted his side’s patience after Sunday's 2-1 win over Aston Villa secured back-to-back Carling Cup victories for United.
Michael Owen cancelled out James Milner’s early penalty, before Wayne Rooney’s second-half header sealed the win. The United boss was pleased with his side’s reaction to going a goal down on a wet, soft Wembley pitch.
“If you go a goal down early in a cup final you’ve got a job to do, you need a lot of patience,” Sir Alex told MUTV.
“Once we scored we looked a lot stronger. The first half was a real ding-dong battle, it was a soft tiring pitch and it took its toll on the players. I was hoping we could get some tempo into our game, because in the first ten minutes Villa laid down the gauntlet to us and made us turn towards our own goal.”
The Reds boss admitted his side could have no complaint about the award of Villa’s spot-kick after four minutes, and also that Nemanja Vidic may have been a little lucky to remain on the pitch.
“I don’t think there was any doubt about the penalty kick. As for whether Vidic should have been dismissed or not, I think we got a lucky break there, he could have been sent off.”
Sir Alex was quick to praise goalscorer Michael Owen, highlighting his predatory instinct in particular. However he felt sorry for the striker given his withdrawal with a hamstring injury just before half time.
“He’s not had a lot of football and the pitch probably wasn’t the best for him," assessed the manager. "You pick the team before you know the pitch conditions, and Michael isn’t suited to a heavy pitch like that. We paid the penalty for it.
“That aside, I thought he was one of our best performers in the first half. He did really well for us and scored a goal to get us back in the game. He’s good at picking up crumbs. He’s as good as anybody at that.
“He and Rafael