Alex Ferguson admitted that his Manchester United side had been out-fought in Saturday night’s 1-0 defeat at Norwich City. The result, coupled with a 5-0 victory for Manchester City at home to Aston Villa earlier in the day, meant United ended in second place in the Premier League table.
A goal from Anthony Pilkington — a former United youth player — on the hour mark sealed a remarkable win for hard-working Norwich.
“It’s disappointing, but you have to give credit to Norwich. They battled all over the pitch and defended fantastically well. Their goalkeeper had a really good night also,” said Ferguson.
On the all-important goal, he said: “It was a marvelous cross and a magnificent header — there was nothing the goalkeeper could do about that. They deserved the win just because they worked so hard for it. We had a lot of possession and one or two half chances without having any great chances. It just wasn’t our night.” Ferguson had been unable to call upon England forward Wayne Rooney because of tonsillitis. Javier Hernandez, the Mexico forward, made a rare start after netting five goals in the previous eight games mainly from the bench, but he and Robin van Persie did not fashion any clear chances to beat John Ruddy in the home goal. “You always miss your good players, there’s no question about that, but we had plenty of good players on the pitch tonight,” Ferguson said.
Norwich had won none of their first seven EPL games under Chris Hughton, who succeeded Paul Lambert as manager in the summer but are now unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions.