Fergie hails 'fantastic' Neuer
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson paid a glowing tribute to Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp
Last Updated: 26/04/11 11:14pm
Sir Alex Ferguson paid a glowing tribute to Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer whose heroics could not prevent Manchester United taking control of their UEFA Champions League semi-final.
The Germany international was superb throughout the first leg in Gelsenkirchen, producing a string of excellent saves as the Red Devils dominated while Schalke's 10 outfield players froze on the big occasion.
Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney found the net in a three minute spell in the second period to put United firmly on course for a place in the final at Wembley on 28th May and they take a 2-0 lead into next week's return at Old Trafford.
Ferguson is in the market for a new goalkeeper with Dutch veteran Edwin van der Sar retiring at the end of the campaign and has been linked with Neuer, although the expectation is that he will join Bayern Munich this summer.
And the Scot told Sky Sports: "He was fantastic. That is one of the best performances I've seen against Manchester United."
The Red Devils boss was also fulsome in his praise for his side, who dominated from start to finish and did not panic despite seeing an astonishing array of chances go begging before the break.
Javier Hernandez was, for once, particularly profligate in front of goal but managed to beat Neuer after the interval only to be flagged offside. Ferguson, however, felt that moment proved to be a turning point.
He said: "Our concentration and the intensity of our play and speed of our passing was absolutely excellent tonight. It was a really top performance, I'm really pleased and every one of them has done fantastically well tonight.
"We had less chances but were more dangerous after the break. The funny thing was when Chicharito scored when he was offside, I think it told the players they could beat this goalkeeper."
United are in the midst of a crucial spell, with their second leg sandwiched by important Premier League meetings against Arsenal and Chelsea as they look to protect their advantage at the summit.
Ferguson is planning to make changes for the clash against the Gunners, who he clearly feels are now out of the running, with defending champions Chelsea more of a threat with four games to go.
He admitted: "I've got good options because Nani could have played, but Valencia's form tonight showed why he is playing. It was an unbelievable performance from him.
"We've got Scholes and Anderson. We've got selection problems now, but that's what we want. We have got important games coming up, we're playing Arsenal on Sunday. It will be a different team, but hopefully we will get the result we want.
"The way I'm going to look at it, is that we want to get Sunday's game over and get a positive result because that is a very important game for us now.
"Depending on the result on Sunday I could make two or three changes because we have Chelsea the following Sunday. It is a seven-day period which is crucial to the club but it is the kind of games the players are relishing.
"I think we are coming to a peak."