Ferdinand: Tie still in the balance

Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United's Champions League quarter-final with Chelsea is still in the balance despite United's 1-0 away win.

Wayne Rooney made light of the furore surrounding his four-letter tirade at West Ham on Saturday by slotting the winner from a Ryan Giggs pass, but Ferdinand is wary of the threat Chelsea will pose in next week's second leg.

"It's in the balance," he told ITV1. "It was a good result but we need to go to Old Trafford, defend well, stay on our feet and if we don't concede we go through."

The final moments of the game saw Chelsea aggrieved after two penalty appeals were turned down as Patrice Evra brought down Ramires and Fernando Torres went down under pressure from Antonio Valencia.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti went on to the field to speak to the referee at the full-time whistle but Ferdinand said of the first claim, which replays suggested should have been given: "Maybe it was a penalty, maybe it wasn't.

"But it evens itself out over the course of a season. I don't think it was a penalty, maybe it should have been but they have ridden their luck here over the years so it was time we had some."

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson praised his side's performance, in particular Rooney's contribution.

"To be honest I thought their player made the most of it," he said of the first penalty claim.

"I haven't seen the replay but there is plenty to talk about with penalty claims and dives but I thought our players were great.

"Wayne just played his game. He got a lot of abuse and late tackles but he played his game and that shows the courage of the players.

"He was important on the counter-attack and he was in tremendous form and he has given us a great chance of reaching the semi."

Chelsea keeper Petr Cech could not believe that the Blues were not awarded a spot-kick for Evra's crude lunge on Brazilian Ramires.

"I think everybody saw what happened, you can see clearly on the TV," he said. "But the most important person did not see it.

"We lost the game and we have left ourselves a mountain to climb but we have to do it.

"I think we created chances and that was the key. They had their first chance and scored and we had some but we didn't score, and that's the difference."

Source: Team Talk
Date Published: 7 April 2011

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I thought Carrick was excellent - can't remember the last time I've said that, if ever! Committed in the tackle and what a ball that was to play Giggsy in for the goal. More of that please!

- Jonesy

Great performance. Yes we rode our luck at times but you need to do that in big games, they are rarely easy wins. Have taken a punt and booked flights for Schalke while they were cheap.

- Oli

I know over the years he's done some stupid stuff, but for me Rio is the best defender i've seen at the club. He was immense tonight, and the way he just slots in after being out for so long is a credit to his (new-found) professionalism. With him, Vidic and VDS we have a great chance in all 3 remaining competitions. Its a fantastic scoreline to take back to OT, but the tie still isnt over and the players and fans will have to be at their best next Tuesday if we're to go through without a scare. You can never write off a team that has Lampard, Anelka, Drogba and Torres on its books. Still, it couldnt have gone much better tonight.

- twoc2002

Great game, we were lucky at the end but we will take the win.

- Minnesota Berbatov

Iv never been so happy to be wrong about everything! Great result Rio was excellent and Carrick had one of his best games in a long time. Roll on next Tuesday!

- Munsterman

I'm not feeling too confident about this one. Hopefully we can get a goal and take something back to Old Trafford for the second leg but i can see them winning tonight. Hopefully Smalling starts i don't think it would be a good idea throwing Rio straight back in.

- Munsterman

I'm pretty confident that we can win at the Bridge. Especially as we should have a decent referee for a change (I hope!) 3 consecutive matches agaisnt the rentboys have been settled by poor refereeing decisions. 2-1 to the Reds wouldn't surprise me in the least. If the back four can stay focused and keep it together, we'll be fine. We can score on anyone.

- Darren

Not sure why but I can actually see us coming away with a win from Stamford Bridge. 2-1 or 1-0 to United with a late goal would be great. I'd settle for a draw though or even a defeat by the odd goal as long as we get the away goal.

- Dave

We're at that time of the season when I start to get nervous more than 24 hours before kick off... butterflies in the stomach all day today. Fergie has hinted that we will go with an attacking line-up to try and notch up some away goals. Hopefully that means something like: ------------ VDS Rafael Smalling Vidic Evra Valencia Scholes Carrick Nani -------- Rooney Hernandez Although I'd want to squeeze Berbatov in there somewhere I think Hernandez' pace is vital, especially as Luiz is cup-tied. I can see goals at both ends. So long as we keep our heads (no silly cards) we should be able to come away in the driving seat, although Vidic will need to have a better game than he did at Upton Park.

- fenwar