Sir Alex Ferguson was pleased with the response of his players to a below-par first-half display at Bloomfield Road, but he says the second half performance was drawn from United’s history and tradition of just never giving in.
The boss was understandably miffed at the way his players performed in the first 45 minutes. After his half-time team-talk Sir Alex sent his players out early for the second half – they had work to do.
“I have to say, it’s down to the history of the club,” said Sir Alex. “We just never give in. In the first half we were battered. We had a terrible first half, it must be said. We didn’t create anything like we should have been doing. But I know the game is never done.
“We made a change at half-time and Ryan Giggs made a tremendous difference. We started to penetrate, we started to play our way and we’ve run out deserved winners in the end. You know fine well that in situations like this we’re going to do something. And it needed something because the first half wasn’t very good at all. But we kept going, we kept playing our football and kept penetrating and got the rewards for that.
“It’s a results industry that we’re in. In the run-in, you’ll get games like tonight. Sometimes maybe we won’t come back, but we always try to come back.
“Certainly in the second half we played well. I don’t know the reasons for the first-half performance. We just seemed to be all over the place at times. We were maybe a little bit too confident. The work-rate wasn’t there that was in the second half. We had to get our finger out in the second half, and when we did we were a good team.”
The substitutions of Giggs and Javier Hernandez, who scored United’s second goal and was set up by the Welshman, were absolutely vital in lifting the performance.