Sir Alex Ferguson has called on his experienced Manchester United players to improve after the Champions League group stage ended in defeat for the three-time European Cup winners, the
United were already safely through to the next round of this year’s competition when they welcomed Romanian side Cluj to Old Trafford, and Ferguson put out a side to reflect as much. Youngsters such as Scott Wooton and Nick Powell started, as did Phil Jones, who is making his return from injury, and squad players including Alexander Buttner.
Cluj won the game by a single goal, Luis Alberto striking just before the hour mark to condemn United to a first home defeat in the Champions League in three years, and make it the 15th occasion in the last 23 games that United have failed to keep a clean sheet.
Ferguson excused his young players of any blame for the defeat, placing the more experienced names on the teamsheet and in the squad squarely in the firing line. He said: “The young players did quite well. Their commitment and composure was good, but they’re young. That is without doubt and it doesn’t solve the issue of defending. Hopefully that’s in the future and the experienced players who have been playing have got to get their act together. It’s as simple as that.”
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