Sir Alex Ferguson was critical of Roberto Mancini’s tactics in the aftermath of a dull Manchester derby, but the Italian has defended his right to play for a point, adding that his players were tired.
Neither goalkeeper was really stretched in the dire 0-0 draw at Eastlands on Wednesday night, with Ferguson suggesting that tension got the better of the players.
“City are very difficult to beat on their own ground and obviously they set their stall out,” Ferguson said. “I think there was too much tension for it to be the kind of match people thought it would be.
“I am disappointed we didn’t win. We needed to win. But we only made two good chances in the game and I don’t think they made any. There were good aspects to our play. We dominated and played some good football. But teams coming here are going to find it difficult.”
United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar added in the Guardian: “City did not really come forward and leave their defensive position. They were clearly aiming for a point whereas we really wanted to win. They were so defensive I didn’t have anything to do apart from [save] one free-kick.”
Mancini said fatigue had restricted his team’s ability to be more attack-minded, and defended his right to play for a draw, citing the last-minute losses to United last season.
“When you play every three days the players can get tired,” Mancini said. “It’s not easy playing every three days and then having a game like that. We wanted to win but I would prefer to have one point rather than zero points, which is what we got from this game last season.
“It was a difficult game; they defended very well and we didn’t create many chances, but last season we scored against them [in three of the four games] and lost three matches all in the last minute. I wanted to win but it is much better to draw than it is to lose.”