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Ronaldo was key to win - Ferguson

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Early goals killed off game - Ferguson

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said Arsenal had no answer to winger Cristiano Ronaldo as his side reached the Champions League final.

Ronaldo scored twice for the defending champions, who beat the Gunners 3-1 to secure a 4-1 aggregate semi-final win.

"I thought they couldn't handle Ronaldo - he was the difference," stated Ferguson, whose team scored twice in the opening 11 minutes.

"And the two quick goals knocked the wind out of their sails."

Arsenal, who lost 1-0 at Old Trafford, were left needing four goals to win the tie after United's blistering opening and Ferguson added: "Wherever you play, teams can't recover from that. It was a mountain to climb for them.

"Arsenal were throwing everything forward and we caught them on the counter-attack and the speed of play was fantastic."

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Ronaldo's second goal came in the 61st minute - the Portugal international finishing off a blistering move to put his team 3-0 ahead on the night.

"We had good shape but we needed someone to give them big problems and on that form Ronaldo's a fantastic player," added the United manager.

"When we transferred the ball to Ronaldo it was a big problem for them. Everyone played for each other. They all played their part."

United won the competition last season, defeating Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out in Moscow, and have been European Cup holders three times.

"We should have this cup more times than we have," said the 67-year-old Scot. "This is another opportunity for us to do so.

"I think we have the quality, the energy and the ambition to do it. It's a hungry team and when the chips are down they don't let me down."

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The result means that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will have to wait at least another year for another attempt to reach the final.

And Ferguson sympathised with the Frenchman.

"When you work as hard as he does he deserves success," said Ferguson.

"The problem for Arsene Wenger and myself is that the longer you are in the game the more labels are attached to you. Success or failure.

"If you are not winning you are useless, if you are winning you're great."

United now face the winner of Wednesday's tie between Chelsea and Barcelona, with the first leg in Spain ending goalless.



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see also
Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd (agg 1-4)
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Uefa stands by Fletcher red card
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Ferguson fires warning to Arsenal
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Ten to tackle - Giggs special
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Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal
29 Apr 09 |  Europe
Man Utd v Arsenal as it happened
29 Apr 09 |  Europe
Man Utd v Arsenal photos
29 Apr 09 |  Football


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