By Ikenna Agu

Despite losing 0-1 at home, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he had no complaints about the wonder goal that saw his side go down to CFR Cluj in their final Champions League group game at Old Trafford. Ferguson branded United defending “comical” after their 4-3 victory over Reading at the weekend, but could not fault his players for Luis Alberto’s magnificent strike.

“It was a wonder goal that beat us,” he said. “We didn’t deserve that. We had a lot of good chances, but I’ve got no complaints. We put a young side out, we did well at times on a pitch that was a bit dead, it had frost on it, so I’m satisfied we put a decent performance in.”

Ferguson made 10 changes from the Reading match, with only Wayne Rooney retaining his place, as he had one eye firmly fixed on Sunday’s derby clash with Manchester City. “A lot of them got some experience tonight,” Ferguson added. “Young [Nick] Powell did well, 18 years of age, and Phil Jones, it was an excellent game for him tonight – only his second game in about nine months – so I’m very pleased with that part of it. Phil Jones was fantastic. The more game time he and Smalling get only helps us. Wayne [Rooney] has another 90 minutes under his belt, and hopefully by Sunday he is in real top form,? the manager said.

“We qualified early [from the group stages] and after that we’ve experimented a little and given some players a game, given some youngsters experience that will hold them in good stead. We go into the next stage as winners but we could face Shakhtar Donetsk, AC Milan, Porto… there are some big names in there. We’ve qualified comfortably, no question of that, but the real tournament starts in February,” he reaffirmed.

With the result not bothering Ferguson too much, the only real negative was an injury to Tom Cleverley, who left with a calf problem. “We’ll have to see what he’s like,” the manager said.

He added that he was relatively pleased with the defending against Cluj, but warned: “That doesn’t solve the issue of defending. That, tonight, was the future. On Sunday, the experienced players have to get their act together. It is as simple as that.’

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