London: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed a spot in the Champions League quarterfinal round is well within their grasp following an inspiring 1-1 draw against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
Ferguson claimed the tie isn’t over yet but feels United has a strong chance to qualify for the quarterfinals of Europe’s most elite competition, the Telegraph reports. Danny Welbeck put United ahead in the 20th minute with a fine header, however, former Red Devil Cristiano Ronaldo leveled the score line ten minutes later with a sublime headed goal.
None of the teams could find another breakthrough in the game and the match ended in a draw, which Ferguson claimed is a result they would have taken before the game.
Ferguson reserved special praise for goalkeeper David De Gea, who performed stunningly to keep Madrid attackers at bay. De Gea is only 22, still developing and will make mistakes in the future, particularly when placed under pressure at corners in the Premier League, yet this was undoubtedly a significant moment for him, the paper reported.
At a time when there is plenty of talk about United looking to recruit Asmir Begovic from Stoke City, De Gea picked the right moment to remind his critics of his qualities. Early on, he had to endure the barracking of the Ultras Sur, inevitably as a former Atlético Madrid player but he ignored them, focusing on frustrating their players.
Ferguson said De Gea has been improving all season, adding there was one save in the first half of the hame, which he touched on to the post and it was a superb save. Fergie added he is pleased for De Gea, as an Atlético Madrid boy playing here in Madrid, but he has done well.
First Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013, 12:13