Following Manchester United’s exit from Europe thanks to a ridiculous red card decision, it was Mike Phelan who addressed the press, not Sir Alex Ferguson.

Our #2 claimed that the manager who too “distraught” to answer questions on the game at that time. There had been rumours that Sir Alex Ferguson may have been considering retiring at the end of this season and might have seen that unjust exit as his final attempt to win the third European Cup he deserves. If anything, the way we lost yesterday will likely ensure that he will be around for at least one more season.

Phelan, who often gets some stick for his role at United, appearing to be more like a man who sticks the cones out at training than any tactical mastermind, was a credit to the club. Having been at the club since the 80’s, it would be understandable for him to have been wrapped up in the emotion of the travesty he had just witnessed. Instead he spoke calmly and articulately. Fair play to him.

“It’s a distraught dressing room and a distraught manager. That’s why I am sitting here now,” said Phelan. “I don’t think the manager is in any fit state to talk to the referee about the decision. It speaks volumes that I am sitting here now rather than the manager of this fantastic football club. We are extremely disappointed and wondering what has happened and why it has happened. We feel as though we had the tactics right for the game on such a big occasion. We felt we were comfortable at 0-0. It was where we wanted to be, then we scored the goal that put us in a commanding position. We were in reasonable control and then the game totally changed. The decision was amazing but we had to carry on because it is hard enough playing Real Madrid with 11 men. Referees are there to make decisions but there is also an element of doing the right thing. All the media and a television audience watching all over the world will have an opinion on the decision but it was a disappointing one and it spoiled the game.”