Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan admitted Sir Alex Ferguson was ‘not in a fit state’ to address the media following the Red Devils’ Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid.
An own-goal from Madrid defender Sergio Ramos put the home side in a promising position shortly after the break, but the contentious dismissal of Nani gave the La Liga side the advantage as they rallied back to score two goals in three minutes to progress to the quarter-final.
Ferguson was clearly incensed about the red card decision, while a crowd of United players surrounded Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir at the final whistle.
And Phelan, who sat the post-match press conference in the Scot’s place, revealed the team and manager have been rocked by the defeat.
“It speaks volumes that I’m sat here instead of the manager,” said the United assistant coach.
“It was a very distraught dressing room and a very distraught manager, and that’s why I’m sat here in front of you now.
“Everybody was sat in the dressing room wandering what had happened and the manager is not in a fit state to talk about the decision.
“We all witnessed an amazing decision which seemed very harsh and incredible in that moment in the game.
“But we had to carry on and playing Real Madrid with 10 men is very difficult.
“We felt as though we had the tactics right for the game, we were comfortable at 0-0 and we scored the goal that put us in a commanding position.
“After that we took control and had a couple of chances, but after the sending off the game totally changed.
“And in a game of this magnitude, with the whole world watching, we feel very disappointed.”