SAF was happy with his team’s performance, but he was disappointed that a few chances were missed in the second half. He also praised Cristiano Ronaldo’s equalizing header in the 30th minute.
“I think it was an interesting match,” he told Sky Sports. “There were chances at both ends. David De Gea made three or four terrific saves and we missed some really good chances ourselves. Their keeper [Diego Lopez] made a fantastic save in the last minute and when Robin van Persie hit the bar. There were a lot of incidents and it made it a really interesting game.
“We sat back off them too much in the first half and they had a lot of play around the edge of our box which is not healthy or good to watch. It was unlike us in many ways but we changed it around in the second half and put Danny Welbeck around Xabi Alonso. It made a great difference and the ebb of the game definitely changed.
“We had a really good start to the second half and, all in all, created a lot of chances with good attacking football at times but we’ve not had the possession we should have. Real won the possession without question but they were at home and it’s a difficult place to come.
“I’ve got to be pleased. The players dug in and got the result. It takes us back to Old Trafford with a great chance.”
Sir Alex understands that Ronaldo will be a big threat at Old Trafford.
“What a header,” he exclaimed. “Unbelievable. You can’t stop that, I’ve got to say, with that leap and spring and he holds himself in the air. And the power in the header. I came in at half-time and said: ‘Patrice did you not challenge for it’ but I’ve seen the video.
“I thought we did well and it was difficult for Cristiano playing against us, his old team. Maybe there was a little bit of emotion attached to it but he was still a big threat for them.
“It’s very open. I think they’ll score at Old Trafford. We know they’re going to be a tremendous counter-attacking team because we’ve seen it when they played Manchester City at the Etihad. They absolutely dominated the game in the first half.
“So we’ve got a big job on our hands but it’s definitely within our grasp, no doubt.”