MADRID, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Manchester United coach, Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he was satisfied with the 1-1 draw his side achieved away to Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash.
A Cristiano Ronaldo header cancelled out Danny Welbeck's opener for Manchester United, but the result gives the English side a vital away goal to take home to Old Trafford in three weeks.
"I am satisfied with the score because it is difficult to come to the Bernabeu," said Sir Alex on Spanish TV after the game.
"In the first half I thought we defended too deep and gave Madrid chances around our box and the goalkeeper made two great chances. We played better in the second half and had chances to have got a better result," he said, looking ahead to the second leg.
"I think it is very open, we have now got a chance and that is what we were hoping for, but we know that Madrid are one of the best sides in Europe and the best on the break," he said, before praising Ronaldo, who joined Madrid from Manchester United three and a half years ago and for whom he clearly retains affection.
"Ronaldo's was a great goal, of course we miss, him, he's a fantastic player and a fantastic person and I am very pleased the way he has flourished at Real Madrid."
Meanwhile Ronaldo returned the respect by not celebrating the goal he scored against his former club.
"I respect everyone at Manchester United a lot; I grew up as a player at the club," he explained.
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said he side were capable of scoring a goal away from home.
"I think we had chances to have scored more than one goal and we had the initiative in the great part of the game. But sometimes you win and others you lose and when you see a game like that, you can go home with your head held high," he commented in his post- game conference.
"The result leaves it open and if you ask me for a percentage, I will say like I said before, it's is 50/50. They don't have an advantage from their away goal as we can score more than one goal in the second leg. They had two big chances in the second half, but that is out of context as we were chasing the game and they were sitting back and waiting," said Mourinho.
Real Madrid midfielder, Xabi Alonso admitted the result could have gone either way in a game where both sides spurned chances.
"I think we stated well, but their goal was not expected and it threw us for a while," he said.
"In the second half we tried to keep up the pace and look for the goal, we both had chances and then Manchester sat deep. It isn 't the best result but it's very open for the return leg. Needing a goal will condition how we play in Old Trafford, but it could have been better for us and it could have been worse," he said..
Meanwhile Manchester goalkeeper, David de Gea was content with his excellent display, but taking nothing for granted.
"It was a good game and both sides could have won, but it is good to get a result away to Real Madrid We know Madrid have fast players on the break, they played well and we knew they would, now they will come to Old Trafford with everything here. It is an important game for them as they have to win," said the goalkeeper, while Robin Van Persie believed the job was only half done.
"We've finished the first half, the second half is still to be played, but we will play it at home," he said.