Advantage United, says Ferguson

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes the advantage lies with his side after the draw with Marseille in their Champions League tie.

Ferguson admitted the 0-0 stalemate at Stade Velodrome in Wednesday’s first leg was far from entertaining, but the Scot said knowledge that a win at OId Trafford in the second leg on March 15 would guarantee progress to the last eight was comforting.

“The result is fine, I think it was a fair result,” Ferguson said.

“I don’t think Marseille presented any great problems to us in an attacking sense, they only had one strike on goal.”

Ferguson heaped praise on defensive pair Chris Smalling and Nemanja Vidic for quelling the French club on their own turf, allowing them no time or space to construct forward thrusts.

“I thought our two centre-backs were very good. In the first half both teams cancelled each other out. Nothing really happened in the match and I don’t think it was a good match to watch,” he said.

Marseille manager Didier Deschamps agreed with Ferguson that United had the upper hand heading to Old Trafford.

“I am very happy with my players because they have done their best tonight as Manchester United showed what a good team they are,” Deschamps said.

“Maybe we will have an opportunity to score in the second leg. It is not a bad result for us but it is a good one for United.”

Marseille’s defence was able to limit the influence of English Premier League leading goalscorer Dimitar Berbatov, and Deschamps said the clean sheet was one aim of their encounter.

“It was very important we didn’t concede a goal and we did that. It was a tough, hard game because Manchester United are a good team. It was not easy. We had a very good time in the second half for 20 or 25 minutes but we didn’t find a goal,” he said.

“At the end it was more difficult because United changed their system to 4-4-2 and we were behind the ball a lot. They had some players missing but those who came in were excellent. It shows what a high level they are at.”