Last updated : 18 April 2004 By Editor


"We had no composure on the ball in the second half. We got frustrated and started just putting balls into their box. When they scored it was a great boost to them and they could just counter-attack.

"The Chelsea game begins to look really big now.

"We had plenty of possession but we got too easily frustrated in the second half. It wasn't going to be our day.

"Portsmouth worked their socks off but the goal looked a bit scrappy and fell nicely for Steve Stone."

About the clear cut penalty he said: "I didn't see it clearly but I have every faith in Neale Barry's ability as a referee.You saw that last week when he inadvertently knocked the ball in for the Norwich player and he comes out afterwards and owns up to it. It’s fantastic – if more referees did that there would be more respect. I have 100% respect for Neale Barry as an official and I don’t think you can fault him for that."

Rio Ferdinand, who was commenting for Sky Sports:

"We don’t want to be going into a qualifier and having to travel to Russia or Poland; it can be difficult in travelling terms," the manager told us on Friday.

"United should be in the Champions League. We’ve got no divine right to be in the competition, but with the resources we have we have got to get there."

Results such as the defeat to Portsmouth do little to assist United in guaranteeing a place in the Group Stages.

"It was disappointing for us," said Rio of the defeat at Fratton Park."We had the better of the chances in the first half, and we had lots of possession in the second half, but we didn’t penetrate as much as we should have done."


"To be honest I would have settled for a point to keep the run going. To get all three is huge. To beat a side like United at any time is great. In the circumstances it was extra special. They put us under tremendous pressure, but we hung in there. The players defended for their lives. Our central defenders were immense. Leeds is still a big game. But we are in great shape. It's in our own hands now."