Mark Hughes left Old Trafford this afternoon harbouring a grievance but immensely proud of his men
Michael Owen’s injury time winner for United stole the points but it didn’t mask the qualities shown by the Blues who equalised three times before missing out in injury time.
And it was those additional minutes that had Hughes in a controlled fury at the end of the contest.
“The board had gone up for four minutes of additional time at the same time as Craig Bellamy made it 3-3,” observed Hughes.
“The additional time after the four minutes didn’t sit comfortably with me. We feel aggrieved. Everyone in the stadium knew the time allotted. I would like an explanation why more was added on but I rather doubt that I will get it.
“The fourth official said time was added because of our goal celebration but that lasted only forty-five seconds.
What is really upsetting is that we have no tangible reward for a huge effort and that other people played a hand in the result.
United boss Alex Ferguson reckoned his side could have had six or seven goals and described the Blues as ‘noisy neighbours’ after the game but Hughes saw things completely differently.
“It is a bit raw at the moment to see any positives but we will pick the bones out of the match and be ready to go again on Wednesday in a competition that is important to us,” continued the City chief. “We can’t dwell on this or feel sorry for ourselves.
“We showed great quality at times, especially to come back three times in the manner that we did. I was disappointed with all the goals that we gave away and that we allowed ourselves to be penned back at times. We had to deal with too many balls into our box for my liking but Craig Bellamy scored two magnificent goals and we kept coming back at United.
“We dug deep and we were spurred on by our great backing and I am sorry for them that we didn’t take at least a point from the match. We have to be more bloody minded but more than anything I am disappointed that we haven’t got the reward that our efforts deserved.”