Poor passing cost United - Ferguson

BY foxsports • March 30, 2010

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson blamed his side's poor passing for their Champions League loss at Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening.

Wayne Rooney, who later limped off with an ankle problem, gave the Red Devils an early lead at the Allianz Arena but Bayern hit back with goals from Franck Ribery and Ivica Olic to gain an advantage in the quarter-final tie.

"I didn't think it was a fantastic start," Ferguson said.

"We gave the ball away far too easily from minute one. It is a part of our game we pride ourselves on and has been part of the reason for our progress. But that was really disappointing for me."

Instead of going on to consolidate their lead, United found themselves pressed further onto the back foot.

Only the wasteful finishing of Hamit Altintop and Olic prevented Bayern from drawing level by the break.

Instead, it took a needless handball by United skipper Gary Neville to offer Bayern a lifeline 13 minutes from time.

Man-of-the-match Edwin van der Sar appeared to have Ribery's free-kick covered. But when it ricocheted off Rooney, the veteran Dutchman was helpless as the ball flew into the opposite corner.

The goal ended United's hopes of becoming only the second English team to beat Bayern on their own ground, and ended a six-match winning streak away from home.

Yet little were they aware the worst was still to come.

After Nemanja Vidic thudded a header against the bar, Gomez emerged with the ball from his fateful tackle with Rooney.

As Rooney lay on the ground in obvious pain, Gomez raced away.

Vidic knocked Gomez off his stride but Patrice Evra was then hesitant on the ball and Olic stole in to calmly beat Van der Sar, without whom Ferguson admitted the damage would have been far worse.

"Edwin saved us time and time again," he said.

"He made so many fantastic saves and kept us in the game.

"Yes, we had some chances but Edwin kept us in the game.

"It wasn't a good goal to lose but the second leg is at home and I believe we have a strong chance."

Rooney left the stadium in Munich with a protective boot over his left ankle, using the crutches for added support, following a challenge with Mario Gomez.

But it is also claimed Rooney hurt his right foot in the same incident, although there appeared to be no strapping or support on that foot as he left the stadium.

The United striker, who had earlier scored his 34th goal of the season, will have further tests on Wednesday before United boss Ferguson knows the full extent of the damage.

But clearly he is an extreme doubt for Saturday's Premier League encounter with Chelsea and the return against Bayern at Old Trafford next Wednesday.

The major fear will be that Rooney could be consigned to an extended spell on the sidelines that brings his participation in the remainder of the season and even the World Cup into question.

Ferguson's initial impression was that the problem was not "terribly serious" but admitted a more thorough assessment would have to wait until tomorrow.

Ferguson said: "He's obviously hurt his ankle, we'll know better tomorrow. It's too early to say. I don't think it's terribly serious, but we'll wait and see."

Asked if he could feature against Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday, Ferguson added: "I can't answer that, we need to wait until tomorrow."

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