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08 Feb 2011

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson praised his team despite their 29-match unbeaten league run coming to an end with a 2-1 defeat by Wolves.

The Premier League leaders' first loss will give their rivals hope but Ferguson refused to criticise his side.

"The players have done us proud," he said, while admitting disappointment.

"It was an opportunity for us to continue the great run we've been on, [but] the consistency we have shown in the last two months has been terrific."

Below-par United led through Nani's early goal but that proved to be their best moment as George Elokobi and Kevin Doyle hit back, with bottom-of-the-table Wolves defying their league position.

"They are a handful at the set-pieces, as it proved," Ferguson told ESPN on Saturday. "It's disappointing, it's been a long run for us. But we didn't get going really in the second half.

"I said before the game, I do think Wolves are in a false position.

"We made a lot of chances, particularly in the first half. Then in the second we were not at the races. Their keeper did not have many saves to make.

"The pitch was not very good, but we didn't make anything."

Ferguson's assistant, Mike Phelan, refused to blame the last-minute absence of Rio Ferdinand, who injured his calf during the warm-up and will now be missing for club and country for around two weeks.

"It doesn't help, but the result wasn't down to Rio's withdrawal," he told BBC Sport.

"Of late we have been starting well, and we got the goal that we wanted and controlled most of the game in the first half.

"But second half we were never in the game. We didn't create chances or put them under intense pressure like we can do.

"It wasn't one of our best days. We should have done better. They defended well, but it was a bad day for us."

Victorious Mick McCarthy, whose Wolves team have now beaten five of the Premier League's top seven this season, stressed that the Midlanders must now be more consistent.

"We are in this position because whilst we have beaten some of the top teams, we have been bobbins against those around us," he said.

"West Ham, Wigan, Blackpool. They have all taken points from us.

"It is all right lounging around and basking in the sunny day of beating Man United, but we have to do it against other teams and do damage to them to make sure we preserve our Premier League status.

"We haven't had much to shout about since beating Chelsea, and having lost the game on Wednesday against Bolton the way we did, most people would not have expected this.

"[But] it was a terrific, battling, scrapping performance.

"Perhaps we need that real underdog mentality in every game. Everybody knows we've played well [all season]. We deserved it and we earned it. It's perverse that we keep beating the bigger teams."


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