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Feb 23, 2011

Ferguson: United will be better at home

Sir Alex Ferguson insisted Manchester United will be much better against Marseille in the return leg of their Champions League tie but felt the hosts had a lucky late escape.

•  Marseille 0-0 Man Utd

It was a drab affair at the Stade Velodrome with few chances created - Darren Fletcher going closest with a low drive from the edge of the area that was saved by Steve Mandanda.

Marseille's best moment came when Andre Ayew got a clear sight of goal but skewed his shot wide of the target.

Wayne Rooney appeared to be bundled over by last man Stephane M'Bia as he chased a long through-ball towards goal in the closing stages of the goalless last-16 first leg.

Ferguson told ITV1: "I think it was very lucky. The referee's in a good position and I don't know why he didn't give us a free-kick and then the decision is straightforward - it's a red card.''

On his side's performance, he told a post-match press conference: "On our ground we will be much better. Scoring away from home is always important and we didn't do that tonight.

"You always worry at this stage of the season because there are no bad teams left in the competition, but we will have two or three players back and, whilst we won't be taking anything for granted, this result is fine."

He added: "Marseille made sure they did not lose. It was a poor game for the spectators. Nothing happened."

Ferguson also said he was happy with the way Rooney performed having started him in a left-wing role he has rarely occupied since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

"He did what we wanted him to do," he said. "The way we normally set up, with Nani or Ryan Giggs on the left, gives us more natural width, but Wayne worked hard, as he always does.

"He has great spirit but he was better when we played him through the middle in a 4-4-2 at the end."

Marseille coach Didier Deschamps was pleased with the result, and said: "For the first game it is very important you don't concede a goal. We have done it, it was a tough game because Manchester are a big team.

"We had a very good spell in the second half for 20-25 minutes but we couldn't find a goal. I am very happy for my players. They have done their best. It is important for the return to not concede a goal again and, if we get the opportunity, to score.

"Manchester are always favourites, it's not a bad result for us but it is a good result for Manchester United.''

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