Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is satisfied after a 1-0 Champions League home win over Galatasaray.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UK (SEPTEMBER 19, 2012) (REUTERS) -Manchester United rejoined the Champions League on Wednesday (September 19) with about as much conviction as they left the competition last season, although their 1-0 win over Galatasaray provided two priceless improvements in three points and a clean sheet.
The three-times winners and 2011 finalists failed to reach the knockout rounds last season - the first time since 2005-06 they had fallen at the group stage - and they won just one game at home in a dismal campaign.
Their undoing, acknowledged with rare candour by Alex Ferguson, had been complacency and a vulnerability in defence at Old Trafford that cost them dear in a 3-3 draw with Basle and a 2-2 draw with Benfica.
So Ferguson's overriding emotion after Michael Carrick's winner on Wednesday was one of relief at the result rather than concern at the performance.
Also in the group, Romanians Cluj impressed in a 2-0 victory at Portuguese side Braga with Rafael Bastos returning to score twice before halftime against his former club.
"Well after the experience of last season which was an unusual one for us, first of all the result was the most important thing, but also for our club it is more than that, it is about playing a brand of football that we are recognised for, and at times today we did play some excellent football. We are satisfied with the result as it is three points and the result with Braga losing at home to Cluj makes it an interesting second game against Cluj," said Ferguson.
United were poor in possession, lacking control in midfield, unable to conjure a clear chance for Robin van Persie, and reliant on good fortune and the fingertips of David de Gea in safeguarding their lead.
Indeed, Galatasaray, returning to Europe's elite club competition for the first time in six years, must be wondering how they failed to repeat the achievements of Basle and Benfica.
The Turkish champions hit the woodwork three times, through Nordin Amrabat, Hamit Altintop and Selcuk Inan, and had one strong penalty claim turned down.
Nani's penalty miss for United -- his feeble 53rd-minute spot-kick was saved low by Fernando Muslera -- merely compounded his team's struggle.
Ferguson praised the current Galatasaray team.
"I think that they have some good players in this second team, I can't remember too much about the one in '93 (last time they met in the Champions League) but the game here was the decider because they scored three goals here, as it was 3-3 and over there it was a messy game but they have some very good players now, but we expected that. We expected a tough game and we got one"