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Ferguson delight at Euro success

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Sir Alex Ferguson had previously lost six important shoot-outs

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed his Manchester United side after their dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea in the Champions League final in Moscow.

"It is a fantastic achievement. That is the first shoot-out I've won in a big game," said the United boss.

"When Cristiano Ronaldo missed his penalty we thought we were in trouble but we deserved the win.

"We had the better chances. In the second half they had more control but in extra time we were better."

The triumph gives Ferguson his second Champions League crown, to go with the 10th Premier League title his side clinched on 11 May.

Manchester United took the lead through Ronaldo on 26 minutes but Frank Lampard equalised just before the break.

It went down to penalties, with John Terry missing the chance to win it for Chelsea before Edwin van der Sar saved Nicolas Anelka's spot-kick to take the trophy.

"I thought we were fantastic in the first half and should have been three or four up and they got a lucky break right on half-time," said Ferguson.

"It gave them an impetus because I thought they were the better team in the second half, they had more power than us.

"Actually, I was quite glad to get extra time to change the formation a little and I thought in extra time we were the better team."

Ronaldo had put United ahead with a pin-point header - his 42nd goal of the season.

The Portuguese star admitted he felt he had cost his side victory when Petr Cech saved his penalty but Terry hit the post for Avram Grant's side and Van der Sar made the decisive save from Anelka.

"I thought we were going to lose," conceded Ronaldo. "I had played well and scored but I had missed my penalty and it felt like the worst day of my life.

"But the lads did a proper job and I feel very proud for them. It means everything to me - now it is the happiest day of my life."

United's triumph comes on the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster and, asked if he thought it was fate, Ferguson said: "I think so.

Scholes and Giggs will contribute in a big way next season, as they normally do, but not as many games

Sir Alex Ferguson
"We started the British sojourn into Europe in 1955 and we deserved to get the trophy tonight. I am delighted for the fans and the players.

"In the first half we were fantastic and we should have been 3-0 up but they got a lucky break and equalised but we recovered in extra time."

The key moments came when Terry missed his spot-kick and then Van der Sar saved from Anelka but Ferguson insisted: "That wasn't an accident, his penalty save. We knew exactly where certain players were putting the ball, so great credit to him."

Van der Sar won Europe's leading tournament for the second time following victory with Ajax in 1995, although he lost on penalties with the Dutch club the following year.

"We got a little bit lucky with the slip from John Terry, otherwise it would have been all over," stated the keeper.

"But you could say that with the (Chelsea) goal because the ball changed direction and I tried to change direction and I slipped. The pitch was a bit slippery so other players were sliding also.

"The feeling of saving that last penalty, that's immense, immense. Even though I've experienced a couple of things, this is great. To get that final moment when you win the game is fantastic."

And Van der Sar said he had not been surprised to see centre-back Terry step up for the potentially decisive spot-kick.

"You don't necessarily have to be a striker to take a good penalty," he said.

"I haven't seen John take any penalties (before) but I think the boys from England did and it's our luck that he slipped. Life and also football can change on small things."

The victory was also a milestone for United winger Ryan Giggs, who came on in the closing minutes of normal time to surpass Sir Bobby Charlton's appearance record for the club.

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However, the 34-year-old Welshman dismissed suggestions the game would be a perfect way to bow out.

"I want nights like this again," revealed Giggs, who played his 759th game for United in the dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea.

"It is a proud achievement for myself and my family but in the end it's all about winning trophies."

Ferguson confirmed that both Giggs and Paul Scholes will be involved next season.

We have the issue of Scholes and Giggs getting to the twilight of their careers," he said.

"They will contribute in a big way next season, as they normally do, but not as many games. They will be eventually be phased out, as you have to do in life.

"Ryan will be 35 in November; I think he'll play until he's 37, with maybe 25 to 30 games a season.

"I think Paul Scholes is 34 in November - 25 to 30 games next season, because we have the back-up now."

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Profile: Sir Alex Ferguson

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see also
Fans fly back after Moscow final
22 May 08 |  UK News
Ferguson's ascent to greatness
21 May 08 |  Man Utd
Comment: Ferguson fuelled by fate
22 May 08 |  Football
Player Rater
19 Dec 06 |  Live Text
Grant can hold his head high
22 May 08 |  Europe
Spot-on Giggs overtakes Charlton
21 May 08 |  Man Utd
Champions League photos
21 May 08 |  Europe
Pundits on Moscow final
21 May 08 |  Europe


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