Fergie to continue Euro experiment
Sir Alex Ferguson has vowed to continue with his European experimentation policy next month even though it cost Manchester United their 100% Champions League record in Turkey.
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With qualification for the last 16 as group winners already assured, Ferguson left most of his senior players at home for the game with Galatasaray.
As a consequence, Burak Yilmaz's second-half header earned the hosts a 1-0 win that means Galatasaray only have to match CFR Cluj's result at Old Trafford to accompany the Red Devils into the last 16.
However, Ferguson quickly dashed any suggestion Cluj may end up facing a substantially stronger team.
"We'll play a similar team against Cluj, that goes without saying," said Ferguson. "We've qualified and there's no reason why we shouldn't use the squad."
In fact, despite the result, and yet another goal conceded from a set-piece, Ferguson declared himself reasonably satisfied with the outcome.
Eighteen year-old Nick Powell grew into the game on his first United start, coming closest for the visitors with a first-half header that struck the crossbar.
And Phil Jones came through his first full game of the season after struggling with back and knee complaints.
"We worried about set-pieces and that was the area we suffered," said Ferguson. "That was always going to be a problem considering the lack of experience and height.
"But otherwise [it was a] decent performance. Parts of the game were good and we handled the atmosphere."
Ferguson was critical of early challenges from Felipe Melo and Semih Kaya, both of which he felt warranted red cards.
Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo opted to keep his cards in his pocket though, and Galatasaray took advantage, with Hamit Altintop twice coming close in addition to Yilmaz's fifth goal in the competition.
At least though the damage was not as serious as 19 years ago when United were sent crashing out of the competition.
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The stadium is different as well, even if the incredible noise levels seem to be the same.
"It is a fantastic stadium and obviously an improvement from the old one," said Ferguson.
"There is not much difference in the atmosphere. The biggest change since then is that we have won the competition twice and we have qualified for the last 16 this year too."