Last updated : 26 January 2004 By Editor
Sir Alex Ferguson:

"The more they play together the better they get. David
Bellion is a young man and this will have helped him.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the main player there today. He was
terrific and for a lad of 18 was outstanding.

"There is a worry about the banana skin. They hit the bar
after half time and for a two or three-minute spell they had
us on the rack for a bit. We had to scramble a couple of
balls clear. This was their big day.

"I was thinking of Scarborough [who missed a number of
chances] but in fairness we did really well. It's good for
young players. Maybe there will come a time when they play
in a cup tie and this experience will help them.”

Ruud was missing, but according to Fergie he’ll be ok: "He
got a nasty kick on the shin in training but it's nothing

When asked if United can win the cup this year Ferguson
said: "I certainly hope so. We are due a run. You can never
be certain about any trophy in the English game - you have
to earn it - but the FA Cup is a very important trophy."

Northampton keeper Lee Harper enjoyed himself: "I think the
boys did as well as they could. We were up against a quality
outfit. They seemed to have so much time on the ball but you
expect that - they are not the champions for nothing - they
are different class.

"I knew if I saved the penalty it was going to give us a
massive lift and it did. I've had quite a lot of luck this
season with penalties and I just made my mind up to go one
way and fortunately for me it was the right way.

"I'm pleased to not make any real errors and the boys gave
their all. It's a day I'll never forget."

His boss Colin Calderwood said after the match:

“The difference is huge between the two clubs. Manchester
United's attitude and the way they went about it was
excellent. The boys have learned good lessons today. They
are obviously a bit down because they haven't scored.

“Our limited opportunities have to go in on a day like this
for a club like ourselves against Manchester United and they
didn't. I hope they enjoyed their day and I hope the crowd
have enjoyed seeing Manchester United in our little stadium.
At the end we just hoped for a goal as a little present for
everyone who has come and supported us.”