Phelan also spoke to MUTV and said Sir Alex felt “mega, mega disappointment. One of the reasons that I'm doing the press conference and talking to [the media] is that he feels I'm probably a bit more diplomatic than he could possibly be. He's annoyed, he's distraught and he knows that if he stands in front of a camera right now, he won't be doing it for many weeks to come.”
There can be no denying United’s opposition to the decision to send Nani off in the 56th minute. “From our point of view, we felt the ball was in the air, the player was watching the ball,” Phelan added. “Yes, there was contact, but that's the nature of football and to get a red card seems unbelievable.”
It detracted from a fantastically plotted, well-executed United performance. “We knew we had to apply certain tactics to the game,” explained Phelan. “We went over to Madrid and we did a very good job. We got the result that we were looking for, we scored the away goal. We felt that if we could keep things tight, frustrate Madrid and play a little bit on the counter-attack ourselves, then we'll get chances.
“I think that showed tonight - we did get chances. We didn't convert as many as we should have done but in that one moment when you score the goal, you feel as though the crowd is right behind you, they can see the finishing line. The players sensed they were in control and then it drifted away.”
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