Man United 2 Reading 1: Ferguson heaps praise on match-winner Nani
Man United 2 Reading 1: Sir Alex Ferguson heaps praise on Nani after the winger inspired the Red Devils to victory at Old Trafford
Sir Alex Ferguson heaped praise on Nani after the midfielder came on as a substitute and inspired Manchester United to a narrow win against a plucky Reading in the FA Cup fifth round.
After a frustrating first half, Nani finally made the breakthrough in the 69th minute when he collected Antonio Valencia’s pass and fired past Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici.
The Portugal international, who has been out of favour at Old Trafford in recent weeks, then turned provider minutes later as Javier Hernández headed the winger’s cross into the Reading net.
Jobi McAnuff did havle the deficit in the 81st minute to give the Royals hope of another late comeback, but United held on to set up a quarter-final clash against Chelsea or Middlesbrough at Old Trafford.
“It was a really good cup tie, when they got the goal they went for it and piled men in the box. We played some great football and could have scored a lot of goals tonight,” Ferguson told BBC Sport.
“I’m satisfied with the quality of our play. We should have punished them better though. At 2-0 you are never comfortable.
“Nani deserved to be man of the match, his contribution was terrific. I had a feeling he would win the match for us. We are at home in the next round and we would take that against anyone.”
Meanwhile, Reading manager Brian McDermott insisted he could take “loads of positives” from the defeat at Old Trafford.
“We came to Manchester United and put on a good performance as well, and we’re disappointed not to be coming away with a result.
“I’ve got loads of positives to take from this. When you’re 2-0 down at Old Trafford, that can become four or five. That showed the character of our side. We put United under the cosh, and they will be well pleased to go through.”