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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
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.

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map