Sir Alex Ferguson claims Real Madrid were unable to deal with Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck

England striker opened the scoring at the Bernabeu

Danny Welbeck was too much for Real Madrid at the Bernabeu last night, according to Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

Welbeck was England's top goal-scorer in 2012 but has only hit the net once this season for United.

However, the 22-year-old striker consistently got the better of Madrid's Sergio Rmaos in the first half and headed home the opening goal.

Welbeck's goal proved to be the crescendo of a fantastic display, despite such a fall down the pecking order that the English forward was linked with a loan move to Reading before the transfer window opened.

Ferguson gave credit where it was due and praised the striker's performance.

"He was marvellous," said Ferguson. "It is a pity he got cramp at the end of game, but he worked so hard.

"It was only second goal of season. We expected more, but he is young.

"They found it difficult to handle him."

United goalkeeper David de Gea, who found himself receiving heavy criticism of late after being found at fault for Tottenham's equaliser last week, was also praised for an exceptional evening between the goalposts.

"De Gea was excellent," Ferguson said. "He made three or four top saves.

"He has been improving all season.

"There was one save in the first half which he touched onto the post (from Coentrao) which was superb.

"I am pleased for him. He is an Atletico boy playing here in Madrid, but he has done well."

Ferguson also revealed that captain Nemanja Vidic was left out due to the rescheduling of the Everton match.

"If we had played on the Saturday, the extra day would have suited me, but he plays one game every eight or nine days and still has to manage his comeback from injury," said Ferguson.

"Rio is exactly the same, and the type of game on Sunday suited Vidic more."

United know the advantage now lies with them after ensuring at least one away goal.

However, their position ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford on March 5 would have looked even more rosy had Robin van Persie been able to snaffle a golden opportunity in the second half, when he completely mistimed a volley, allowing Xabi Alonso to clear off the line.

Robin van Persie could have put United in even better standing in the second half when he mistimed a volley, allowing Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso to clear the ball off the line.

"We kept making chances and hopefully we don't regret that," said Ferguson.

"The away goal is important, but it's not finished.

"Real are a fantastic counter attacking team and I look forward to it."

News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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.

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore