Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he was disappointed his side did not translate their superiority into more goals, after his side overcame Lyon 1-0 at Old Trafford.
The win ensured that United reached the last eight eight and Ferguson is now anticipating a quarter-final encounter with a fellow Premier League.
“We are obviously pleased to get through,” said Ferguson. “In the second half we played some terrific football at times but our inability to score a second goal left the tie on a knife edge and allowed a certain nervousness to come into our play.
“The most important thing, however, is that we defended very well throughout. Apart from the shot by [Kader] Keita that hit the post I don’t think they created a chance. It was a good European match, with plenty of end-to-end action. Most of the big goalscoring opportunities fell to us. It’s a pity we couldn’t put the tie to rest early but that’s European football for you. Ronaldo took his goal tonight very well. It probably wasn’t the best [of the 30 goals] he has scored this season but it was the most important.
“We will relish the chance to face another English team in the quarter-finals if that happens – and with Arsenal through, Liverpool in a good position and Chelsea expected to qualify, there’s a good chance of that happening – but it doesn’t really matter who you play in the quarter-finals, they’re all going to be difficult games. The important thing is we are there.”
Lyon coach Alain Perrin was pleased overall with his side’s performance, but acknowledged that the better team had gone through.
“Overall we put in a decent performance,” said Perrin. “There was a lot of effort and commitment from the team and while one can’t argue that Manchester United deserved to go through over the two legs, our players will be all the better for this experience.
“Of course we have one or two regrets from tonight’s game like conceding the goal when we did and hitting the post in the second half. We lacked a killer instinct with the final ball. United pressed us a lot and it was difficult at times for us to get out of our own half and work ourselves into attacking positions to get the goal we needed.
“Ultimately I think the tie was decided by that late goal from [Carlos] Tévez in the first leg. Now we must turn the page and get our minds right for the important league game against Bordeaux. My team have shown their value in Europe, it was an interesting adventure; now it is important for us to concentrate on domestic matters and finish the season strongly.”