Alex Ferguson admits Berbatov could have made difference

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he made a mistake by not putting Dimitar Berbatov on the bench for Manchester United's disappointing Champions League draw with Rangers at Old Trafford last night.

Ferguson made 10 changes and gave in-form Berbatov the night off as he tried to assess the standing of some new players.

But as United struggled to overcome Rangers' blanket defence, Ferguson found himself lacking someone with the guile to find a way through once Antonio Valencia had departed with his horrific injury.

"We wanted to see how Javier Hernandez would do in a full game," said Ferguson.

"Because of that we left Berbatov out and his form has been absolutely fantastic.

"He has been one of our best players this season and his ability to create in tight situations would have made a difference."

Yet Ferguson insisted he had no alternative as, entering such a congested phase of the season, he needed to know what options he has at his disposal.

"We wanted to find out about one or two players," he said.

"But seven or eight of them played against Chelsea in the Community Shield, so we weren't short of players we needed to win the game.

"There were plenty of good players on the pitch."

Unfortunately for United, they kept running into a brick wall, as the five Rangers defenders were protected by four midfielders right in front of them.

Only Darron Gibson came close to breaking the deadlock with a couple of fierce long-range efforts that whistled past the post.

Wayne Rooney had one half-chance on his return to action but nothing clear cut and a measure of how awkward United found their opponents was shown by the fact they were forced to wait until the 84th minute to force their first corner.

"It was a frustrating night for us," he said.

"Rangers' system of play was very difficult to break down.

"I don't know if playing anyone else would have made any difference.

"They were well organised and defended so deep, it was difficult to open them up at all.

"We didn't test their goalkeeper at all, apart from a couple of shots straight at him.

"It was a really difficult night."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home