Manchester United’s assistant manager Mike Phelan said Sir Alex Ferguson was “too distraught” to face the media after the Reds exited the Champions League in heartbreaking fashion against Real Madrid.
Sir Alex did not want to say something he might regret, and the manager’s frustrations were keenly felt among United’s supporters having watched the Reds control the last 16 second leg tie until Nani’s unjust red card.
“[To say we’re disappointed] is an understatement,” Phelan told reporters, standing in for Sir Alex at his post-match press conference. “We felt we had the tactics right for such a big game. We felt as though we were comfortable at times at 0-0. We were where we wanted to be.
"We came out [after half-time] and scored the goal and that put us in a very commanding position. After that we were in reasonable control and created a few chances. Then the game totally changed. The decision… was amazing. But we had to carry on. In a game of this magnitude, with the whole world watching, we feel very disappointed.”
Asked whether Sir Alex had spoken to Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir, Phelan responded: “I don’t think he is in any fit state to talk to the referee about the decision. I think it speaks volumes that I am sat here and not the manager of this fantastic football club. We all saw and witnessed a decision that seemed very harsh. We had a massive audience around the world with people watching in how many countries I do not know, and everybody will be sitting there wondering what happened. A great performance was marred by one decision.”
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.