Ferguson pays tribute to Burton as adventure ends

January 19, 2006

Sir Alex Ferguson paid tribute to Burton's positive attitude as the non-leaguers' FA Cup adventure reached its conclusion at Old Trafford tonight.

The Brewers suffered a 5-0 defeat in their replay with Manchester United, Louis Saha's opener ensuring there was never any likelihood of the Conference outfit completing the biggest shock in the competition's history.

But while Ferguson is able to look forward to a fourth-round visit to Wolves on January 29, he refused to take any of the gloss off Burton's night - claiming Nigel Clough's men had approached their task with a more engaging attitude than many Premiership clubs.

'This is Burton's night,' he said.

'We have had European teams - and many Premiership teams - come here and never show anything like the kind of positive attitude they did.

'Most teams come here, stick one up front, fill the midfield and bore the pants off everyone. Sometimes they get a result; sometimes they don't.

'At least Burton have come here with a positive attitude, and their fans can be proud of them.'

Burton had the backing of a 11,000 supporters - the biggest visiting contingent for a competitive game Old Trafford has ever seen.

They cheered until the end, but by the final whistle their heroes had not managed the consolation goal they craved.

They departed nonetheless to a standing ovation from the United fans who remained, the home players sprinting off the field quickly to allow Burton to enjoy the moment alone.

'We had a few chances to make it a really big score. But there is no point humiliating anyone, and in the end the scoreline was about right,' said Ferguson.

'We have taken the game seriously. But (Burton boss) Nigel Clough has done a fantastic job, and his work has been repaid by all those fans who came to support them.'

Saha will reflect on a hat-trick which got away, given the two gilt-edged chances he spurned.

Both were set up by Giuseppe Rossi, who impressed with a magnificent overall display which he capped with two well-taken goals of his own.

Kieran Richardson and Ryan Giggs - who was part of an unlikely central midfield combination with Rio Ferdinand in the final half-hour - also found the net as Burton tired.

But the visitors were never totally outrun or badly outplayed - and while Clough must now bring his players back down to earth in time for Saturday's more mundane encounter with Woking, a windfall of around £600,000 should help ease the pain of defeat.

'The experience the lads will take from this will stand them in good stead,' said Clough.

'There were a lot of young lads, and I hope they enjoyed it. They have memories for the rest of their lives now.

'Most of them are under contract, and financially we are not under pressure - so we hope to keep the nucleus of them.'