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SO NEAR, SO FAR

Posted on 27 January 2008  - 12:00

Juande Ramos insisted we deserved more than a 3-1 defeat after playing our part in a cracking FA Cup 4th Round tie at United on Sunday.

Juande Ramos insisted we deserved more than a 3-1 defeat after playing our part in a cracking FA Cup 4th Round tie at United on Sunday.

Dimitar Berbatov had already seen his header cleared off the line when Robbie Keane gave us the lead in the first half. Carlos Tevez levelled but we had further chances at 1-1 either side of half-time when Jermaine Jenas burst through on goal, to no avail.

The key moment arrived after 68 minutes when Michael Dawson handled in the area, was sent off and Ronaldo scored from the spot for 2-1. Juande reshuffled the 10 men, went with three up front and it almost paid off as Berbatov's effort cannoned off the post with five minutes left. Two minutes later and it was all over as Ronaldo struck from the edge of the box.

"We certainly deserved more than the scoreline suggests - it was a lot closer than the 3-1 scoreline," said Head Coach Juande at Old Trafford.

"There were some decisive moments in the game that tipped the balance towards Manchester United and one was the penalty, that gave them the advantage.

"We had chances at various times and the one against the post right at the end might have just taken it into a replay if it had gone the other side of the post."

Juande had no complaints against the penalty and red card. "If it was handball it was the correct decision," he said, before countering any suggestion that Tuesday night's heroics against Arsenal had taken too much out of the side.

"I think we coped admirably," he said. "It didn't cause us a problem and the proof of that was that we were in the game at all times.

"You have to consider we're playing Manchester United on their patch, we're the visiting side in a cup-tie so it's a difficult task whatever has happened the week before. We matched them, we had chances to come away with a better result than we did so in that respect, it didn't affect us."