Date: 11th March 2007 at 10:11am
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United were held to a draw at the Riverside in the FA Cup 6th round and Fergie believes we could have avoided it had we taken our chances in the first half.

Wayne Rooney fired the Reds’ into the lead before some ludicrous defending allowed Boro back into the game on 44 minutes. Lee Cattermole’s equaliser was followed by Boateng’s goal at the start of the second half and United could have lost a tie that seemed to be beyond their opponents’ reach for much of the first half.

‘Goals change games and their equaliser gave them that little break they needed to get back into the match,’ Sir Alex told MUTV. ‘It became a rousing Cup tie after that because Middlesbrough were absolutely outplayed in the first half.

‘We looked back to our best and the football we played was fantastic. We really should have been three or four nil up, but we made the wrong decision at times when we got into good positions.

‘To be fair they had a couple of half chances but apart from that we controlled the first period.

‘You need luck in the cup and they got a bit of that with their first goal,’ he added. ‘But we have to hold our hands up for the second one – it was bad marking in our part. We shouldn’t be losing goals like that.

‘The important thing is we’re still in the cup and although some people might say we could do without the replay, the best energy enhancer of all time is winning football matches. Hopefully we can keep on doing that because it’s the best thing for us.’

The boss revealed that Middlesbrough were very unhappy about the penalty that brought the equaliser for us but he does not have doubts about the decision.

‘They were going mad in their dug-out when we got the penalty but it was a hand-ball, no question,’ insisted the United boss. ‘It was the only real decision we got off Rob Styles all day and thankfully Ronaldo tucked it away.

Anyway, it’s interesting to see how we were the wrong end of refereeing mistakes during our Cup run. Against Pompey two of our goals had been ruled out wrongly then Solskjaer scored a perfectly valid goal against Reading but he was adjudged to be offside. In this game Larsson got a yellow card for being fouled while we were denied a penalty when Rooney was pushed in the box. I would not say it’s intentional but hopefully this tendency will not be present in the replay…