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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 22:32 GMT
Ferguson taking heat off Howard
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson deflected blame for the goal that dumped Manchester United out of the Carling Cup away from keeper Tim Howard and onto his defence.

"They scored from a free-kick from 50 yards out," he said of Damien Duff's late winner for Chelsea. "You cannot expect to win losing goals like that.

"The defenders had every chance to attack it before it bounced in.

"We played extremely well in the second half. We needed that bit of luck in a cup tie which we didn't get."

He added: "But it was a great game and I didn't think you could divide the teams."

The loss saw Ferguson lose his record of not having lost a domestic semi-final but he remained philosophical in defeat.

"I thought we had the far bigger momentum in the second half. We played some excellent stuff.

"Ryan scored a very good goal and at that moment I thought we would go on and win it."

United were denied a penalty when Wayne Bridge looked to have brought Quinton Fortune down but Ferguson said: "I'm fed up of talking about penalties being turned down.

"In the first leg we should have had a penalty kick and we should have in the second leg as well. I'm disappointed but that is the matter over."

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