Fergie praises United spirit
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson paid tribute to Manchester United's unquenchable spirit.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson paid tribute to his side's fighting spirit and refused to be too critical of their comical defending in the 2-2 draw with Bolton Wanderers.
Although conceding keeper Tim Howard should have done better when presenting Les Ferdinand with a simple tap-in, Ferguson was relieved to come away with a point as he feels Bolton are formidable opponents at The Reebok Stadium.
"It's the nature of football," he opined. "The way Manchester United are in coming back shows the determination of the team.
"We never give in and deserve everything we get. When we do it the number of times we do it, it's not an accident and the pressure we put on them inside the area means we deserved something from it.
"I thought it was a fair result. It was marvellously intense and anyone coming here is in for a tough game."
Everybody was rather breathless after the dramatic finale, which saw David Bellion scramble the ball over the line to rescue a point for the Old Trafford outfit.
"It was an exciting game, fantastic and local derbies are like that," Ferguson told Sky Sports.
"The history of Bolton and Manchester United is a huge one. We expected it tough and got it tough.
"I thought it was a free kick for us instead of against us but the second goal Tim (Howard) should have dealt with it better. There were so many bodies (for David Bellion's equaliser) that I couldn't really see.
"It was tough today. We were playing a back four with Gabriel (Heinze) who doesn't speak any English. It's his first game in the team, he's been away for a long period and it was a big ask for him, coming into the intensity of a Premier Division match and I think he coped very well.
"I thought we did fantastically at the back. Bolton gave us a hard time, they are a big team and put us under the cosh and we coped quite well."
The Scot refused to accept that Arsenal's considerable lead over United means anything at this stage of the season.
"You don't enjoy it but we will get better," he pledged. "No question about that.
"It was a big game for us. At 1-0 up at half time, we should have showed more authority but their goal gave them a big lift.
"(Cristiano) Ronaldo changed the pattern of the game. He was fantastic and unlucky he didn't score when his good shot came off the underside of the bar.
"It was really ding dong after that. Neither side deserved to lose or to win.
"I had to gamble with Ruud (van Nistelrooy). We've got important games coming up on Wednesday and Monday and I had to start with him somewhere even though he wasn't ready."