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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 1, 2006

Sir Alex blames bad pitch and defensive lapse

COPENHAGEN, Nov 1 (Reuters) - A disappointed Alex Ferguson blamed a bad pitch and a defensive lapse for Manchester United's 1-0 loss to FC Copenhagen in their Champions League Group F match on Wednesday.

'We lost a game that we controlled for most of the night, a game we should have won,' the United manager told reporters.

'Football can do that to you. It's a disappointment because the defence was good for most of the game except for that corner.'

United failed to clear a corner in the 73rd minute, allowing Sweden striker Marcus Allback to turn in Canadian midfielder Atiba Hutchinson's header.

'We knew the danger was set pieces,' he added.

Ferguson did not have much praise for the Danish champions, saying they mostly played long balls in a scrappy game.

'Any football was mostly played from us,' he said. 'We were creating chances, we seemed to be on top of that team and we thought we would win it.

'Conditions suited them a bit today. This is the first bad pitch we experienced. They didn't need to worry about the technical aspect of their game. (Copenhagen) played much better at Old Trafford.'

United stay top of the group with nine points while Celtic are on six after their 3-0 defeat away to Benfica, who are level on four points with Copenhagen. United visit Glasgow on Nov. 21.

'We're going to have to focus really strong on the Celtic game now,' Ferguson said. 'If we win the match, we win the group.'

Striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hobbled off in the closing stages but the United manager was happy it was not a reoccurrence of the knee injury which had kept him out of action for two years.

'I was concerned with the history of his injury, but I'm pleased it's only a hamstring and it will only keep him out a few weeks,' Ferguson said.