Rio Ferdinand has given his thoughts on Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo on Thursday night, noting that the closing stages were “heart-attack material” for anybody following the home side.
Marouane Fellaini seemingly set Man United on course for a comfortable evening after adding to Marcus Rashford‘s first leg goal with a powerful header to give Jose Mourinho‘s men a 2-0 aggregate lead.
But the swift combination of a Facundo Roncaglia goal and an Eric Bailly red card precipitated a nerve-jangling finish at Old Trafford, with United just about holding on and booking a place against Ajax in the final.
And Ferdinand, speaking on BT Sport, admitted that it wasn’t easy watching his former side hang on.
“I’ve almost lost my voice. It was heart-attack material towards the end,” he said.
“Manchester United were very comfortable at times during the game but it doesn’t matter how experienced you are, when you concede a goal so late in the game and give the other team an opportunity, nerves kick in. We saw that at the end.
“The performance won’t be talked about in the changing room. All they’ll be thinking is that they got through to the final. Now they’ve got to go on and win this tournament.”
I thought I’d overcome the stage of furiously pacing around my room, kicking things and swearing at nothing and particular, during these moments of intense squeaky bum time, but there I was, now a student but very much behaving like the 11 year old that struggled to watch the last ten minutes of a narrow win away to Hull City back in the day.
This is what football can do to you; this is, in fact, what Mourinho can do to you. Moments of almost unbearable tension as red shirts dug deep to keep this game – and indeed their entire season – within their grasp. The Portuguese has rarely glided his way into a final.
It wasn’t pretty; it rarely has been this season, but this is a results business and United are in another final. More importantly, though, they are one step away from Champions League football.