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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Feb 6, 2011

Ferguson rues missed opportunity

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Manchester United blew a major opportunity after losing their 29-match unbeaten record at Wolves, but said he is already looking ahead to next Saturday's crunch Manchester derby.

• Ferdinand out for two weeks
• ESPN post-match analysis ESPN Video
• Sir Alex disappointed with first loss ESPN Video
• Elokobi and Doyle discuss goal ESPN Video
• Palmer: Rooney returns to hibernation
• Blog: Wolves in sheep's clothing
• Wolves blog: What a weekend

Victory against the Premier League's bottom side would have allowed United to open up a seven point advantage over second-placed Arsenal.

But on a sensational day in the top flight, the visitors failed to capitalise on Nani's third-minute opener and eventually succumbed rather more meekly than anyone could have imagined.

"It was an opportunity,'' Ferguson said. "I said before the game, I do think Wolves are in a false position. "But we had a great start. We made a lot of chances, particularly in the first half.

"Then in the second we were not at the races. Their keeper did not have many saves to make. The pitch was not very good but we didn't make anything.''

United were not helped by the disruption caused due to the calf injury Rio Ferdinand suffered in the warm-up.

Ferdinand will be out for a fortnight with the problem - a period that includes an England friendly in Denmark on Wednesday and next Saturday's Manchester derby - and the subsequent reshuffle left United exposed, with Wolves getting both of their goals through crosses into the box.

"It was a blow because the experience Rio has got is always vital in games ike that,'' Ferguson said. "Normally I would have put Chris Smalling there. He has been playing recently. But we had to pull Chris in as a substitute because Jonny (Evans) had already done the warm-up.''

Ferguson is not happy that he will now lose a great percentage of his squad to international duty. However, at least he has Dimitar Berbatov, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Edwin van der Sar, Park Ji-Sung and Patrice Evra around to form a team for next week's Old Trafford derby.

"It is a terrific game to recover from,'' he said. "It is a massive game for us and something to look forward to. Unfortunately, we have internationals in midweek. To my mind that is crazy but we have to get on with it.

"We have plenty of players who are not involved in international games and they will all play next week.''

For Mick McCarthy, it was another day when he must have wondered how his team find themselves bottom of the table. Wolves have now accounted for both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool in this bizarre season.

George Elokobi levelled, then claimed the winner just before the break when both he and Kevin Doyle felt they got a touch to Nenad Milijas' free-kick.

"I couldn't care less who gets it,'' he smiled. "They could give it to Wayne Rooney for all I care. Kevin probably deserves it but I sincerely hope it will be a turning point for us because we need to get some points - and I am not bothered where they come from.

"We are in this position because whilst we have beaten some of the top teams, we have been bobbins against those around us. West Ham, Wigan, Blackpool. They have all taken points from us.

"It is all right lounging around and basking in the sunny day of beating Manchester United, we have to do it against other teams and do damage to them to make sure we preserve our Premier League status.''

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