Manuel Neuer 'irritated' by defeat to Manchester United

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The Independent Football

Manuel Neuer claimed words of praise from Sir Alex Ferguson were no consolation after Schalke's 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in last night's Champions League semi-final first leg in Gelsenkirchen.

The United boss hailed the Germany international's display as the best goalkeeping performance against the club since he became manager.

Neuer, who is set to leave Schalke in the summer, with Bayern Munich his expected destination, pulled off a succession of outstanding first-half saves to keep his side in the game before he was beaten by efforts from Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney after the break.

Asked if Ferguson's comments made him proud, he said: "Of course it's nice to hear things like that. But we have lost 2-0 and that irritates me very much."

Neuer claimed the Royal Blues showed United too much respect.

"It was not (nerves), but the respect was very big - perhaps too big," he added in an interview with Schalke's official website.

The goalkeeper admitted his side now had "nothing more to lose" in the second leg at Old Trafford next week, but insisted they were not out of it.

"The first half will be nervous," he said. "Should we go 1-0 up there would still be a chance. The the crowd will also get nervous. They expect a clear win against the underdog. But for that to happen then we need a perfect day."

Striker Raul indicated, though, the German team's hopes of making the final were all but over.

"For us it will be very, very tough," he said.