Man Utd 1-2 Real Madrid

Phelan: Fergie distraught over defeat

March 5, 2013
By Richard Jolly

Sir Alex Ferguson was left "distraught" and "in no fit state to speak" as Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League after Nani's controversial red card against Real Madrid.

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United were leading the Spanish champions 1-0 when the Portuguese winger was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa as his side went on to lose 2-1, with Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo netting the decisive goals.

Ferguson's assistant Mike Phelan said the Scot was left speechless and unable to question why Turkish referee Cuneyt Cafir had dismissed Nani.

"The manager is not in fit state to talk to the referee about the decision," said Phelan when asked why Ferguson missed the post-match press conference which, unlike in domestic matches, he usually attends.

"It speaks volumes that I am sat here. We are all witnesses to a decision that seemed very harsh, and incredible at that moment in the game.

"Everybody was sat in the dressing room wondering what had happened and why it happened. We have a very distraught dressing room and a very distraught manager."

Phelan said he could not think of a worse decision in a major match, adding: "No, not off the top of my head I can't. It was a disappointing one and it spoilt the game. Everybody will be sitting there wondering what has happened."

United were ahead through Sergio Ramos' own goal and Phelan felt the decision had a huge impact on their eventual elimination.

He said: "We were in reasonable control but then the game totally changed. The decision was amazing."