Sir Alex Ferguson praised Louis Saha after his team's goalless draw with Chelsea in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final.
Saha marked his return to fitness following a knee injury by playing his first full game since 10 November.
"For us, the great thing from my point of view was we got Louis Saha back," said Ferguson.
"It gives me an alternative to Alan Smith, who has been a real soldier for us over the last few weeks."
Ferguson added: "With that game behind him, Louis will be a terrific addition to our team.
"He got tired in the last 20 minutes and lost a bit of penetration but I kept him on because I thought he might get a goal."
Ferguson felt his team should have been awarded a penalty for a first-half challenge on Saha.
The striker went down in the Chelsea penalty area as he tried to work his way between two players, but referee Neale Barry waved play on.
"It certainly looked like a penalty, but you are at Chelsea and it is going to be difficult to get a penalty here with the season they are having," said Ferguson.
"The interesting thing was that Chelsea went up the other end not long after and got a free-kick for exactly the same thing, which was a bitdisappointing."
The United manager said he was looking forward to the second leg at Old Trafford.
"There will be a great atmosphere, 67,000 fans," he said.
"It is two terrific teams and it could go either way. It really depends what team I play."