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'Disappointed' Ferguson slams Man U's defensive frailties after Europa League ouster

March 16, 2012 - London

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has slammed his team's poor defensive performance against Athletic Bilbao in the second tie of the last 16 of the Europa League.

United lost 2-1 at the San Mames on Thursday night, and were dumped out of the Europa League 5-3 on aggregate following their shock group stage exit from the Champions League this season.

Ferguson admitted his team deserved to be kicked out of the Europa League, as Bilbao were clearly the better team over the two match tie.

"I don't think we can complain about the result. In the second half in particular Bilbao were the better team. In the first 15 minutes of the second half they could have scored two or three goals," The Sun quoted Ferguson, as saying.

He was particularly disappointed by Bilbao's 23rd-minute opener from a long ball up field, which was splendidly finished off by striker Fernando Llorente.

"The disappointment for me is losing such a soft goal. I thought the first half was even and we did play well," Ferguson said.

"It was a fantastic end- to-end game, there was nothing in it really. But the goal was a bad one for us to lose. You cannot believe an English team can lose a goal like that from a long ball," he added.

Ferguson termed his team's performances in Europe as disappointing, and said the club will soon begin a post-mortem of the Euro disasters.

"We try to analyze this season against other seasons. It's a bit difficult. I think that there is a route in terms of some of the goals we have lost in these tournaments. They have been pretty poor, so it's something we need to analyze. It has been a disappointing year," he said.


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