Sir Alex Ferguson bemoaned "careless" defending after Manchester United squandered a two-goal lead before snatching a 3-3 draw with Champions League rivals FC Basel here on Tuesday.
Ferguson was left stony-faced after watching his side surge into a 2-0 first-half lead through a Danny Welbeck brace before Alexander Frei and Fabian Frei put Basel 3-2 ahead late in the game.
A 90th-minute Ashley Young equaliser saved United's blushes but Ferguson struggled to find positives in a Group C result that leaves his team two points behind Basel and Benfica.
"We were careless. They made two or three openings in the first half, but a lack of concentration killed us. We threw the game away," Ferguson said.
"It was a really good performance in the first half but we were left grappling to get a result. Anyway, we rescued it.
"Of course, the message at half-time was to finish the game off because of the opportunities they created in the first half.
"I think it's a wake-up call, losing three goals at home. The defenders and midfielders have to be better than that in terms of concentration.
"They have good ability but if you relax, the quality of the Champions League can make you suffer."
Ferguson was also sharply critical of referee Paolo Tagliavento, accusing the Italian official of blundering in his decision to award Basel a penalty when Antonio Valencia bundled Marco Streller over on 75 minutes.
"I don't think it was a penalty. You could see quite clearly Valencia won the ball. It was a poor decision as far as I'm concerned, disappointing.
"The referee kept getting in the road of the game. I don't know how many times there was a pass and he got in the way. I think he wanted to play."
Ferguson backed his side to recover from the disappointment, however.
"There is great character in this club and it showed itself again tonight," he said. "Let's hope we have players back for the weekend (against Norwich in the Premier League)."
Basel coach Thorsten Fink -- a member of the Bayern Munich side beaten by United in the famous 1999 Champions League final -- insisted he was not disappointed to be denied victory once more.
"This is a much more positive experience, because we drew. I'm glad we've got something to celebrate this evening," Fink said.
"It's a great result. I don't imagine that many teams come to Old Trafford and come back from 2-0 down.
"We were really nervous in the first half but we were creating chances. I always hoped that we could get back in the game in the second half. It was a great team performance."