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By ESPN Staff

Ferguson hails 'cut-throat' Man United

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Manchester United were at their 'cut-throat' best when they played their trademark attack-focused game in tonight's crucial Champions League victory over Benfica.

The home side at Old Trafford were slow to find their best form in the first half, but were jolted by Nelson's stunning strike which gave the Portuguese side a shock lead and soon raised the level of their performance.

Ferguson told Sky Sports 2: 'We've got to this situation and we seem to torture the supporters and the staff, but at the end of the day we can live with that.

'When Benfica scored, that was what lifted us. As the game went on, we got better and better.

'(Initially) we played slowly and didn't cope with their system well. Once we lost the goal we did start to play.'

United began with Wayne Rooney in a deep role, but pushed him forward in the pursuit of an equaliser, which Nemanja Vidic provided just before half-time.

'We got good penetration, put Wayne back in his normal position, and that made a difference,' said Ferguson.

'We've too many young players to play with patience. When they play the cut-throat way, they're a good team.'

United went on to win 3-1 after second-half goals from Ryan Giggs and Louis Saha.

Ferguson added: 'I think winning the right way is obviously important to this club.

'But if you said before the game, `Would you have taken a scabby goal off someone's knee-cap', I'd have said, `Absolutely'.

'But at the end of the day we've done it this way and I think it's the right way.'

Ferguson insists there will be no easy matches in the second round, despite United finishing top of Group F.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are potential opponents, and Ferguson said: 'There's lot of quality there. We appreciate being there, we can look forward to it at the end of February.'

With five British teams in the last 16 - United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Celtic and Liverpool - Ferguson is hoping for one of them to go on and win it.

'It's fantastic, absolutely fantastic,' he said.

'One of the British teams can win it, and hopefully it's us.'