Date: 7th December 2006 at 11:42am
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United defeated Benfica 3-1 at Old Trafford on Wendesday night with an impressive performance. However, it was only after Nelson’s 27th minutes strike that the Reds sprang to life and Sir Alex did not hesitate to admit it was partly his fault.

“I thought the pace was just too slow to begin with,” Sir Alex said in his post-match press conference. “I don`t think we are at our best when we play with too much patience. There is a difference between patience with speed and patience with no speed. We were the latter for much of the first half.

“But I think we can thank Mr Nelson for his goal because it woke everyone up – the supporters, the players? and we saw the real Manchester United. After the goal we played with speed, tenacity, and the determination to turn things around.’

“In the second half we controlled the match,” added Sir Alex. “It was a very good performance from us, bearing in mind we went a goal down.”

The boss is not discouraged by the prospect of facing Barcelona, Real Madrid or Inter in the last 16 as he’s convinced there are no easy opponents at this stage.

“When we look at the possible teams we could play, there are some very good opponents there – Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Roma.

‘If we were in second place we could have faced Lyon, who, to my mind, are one of the favourites for the cup, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Valencia. There`s no easy option.”