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"I can't be critical of the side because the running they had to do on Tuesday night, against a really top side in Real Madrid, had its bearing on today's result. There's no doubt about that."

- Sir Alex Ferguson

10/03/2013 19:38, Report by Adam Bostock
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Sir Alex: Fatigue a factor

emotions and the intensity of Tuesday took their toll on some of the players, understandably. I've no problems with that but certainly they did feel it in the second half."

Ramires went on to score Chelsea's equaliser and there would have been a winner for the visitors had David De Gea not saved Juan Mata's goalbound effort with an outstretched foot in the 90th minute.

Sir Alex said: "It was a terrific save at an important time because if they'd scored it we would have been out, no doubt about that."

The Reds will instead have a second chance to reach the semi-finals, with a forthcoming replay at Stamford Bridge where United won in the league earlier in the season but lost in the Capital One Cup after extra-time.

"The replay is not a problem for us," insisted the manager. "We’ve got plenty of time for it as we have no European games. I don't know when it's going to be played mind you, probably May because we've got the international break coming up! But the only thing we can say is we're still in the cup."

More: Boss sets record straight on Rooney | Man City await replay winners | Photo gallery

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