Sir Alex Ferguson was furious – he blamed me for Man Utd missing out on Champions League final


Sir Alex Ferguson pointed the finger at Nicky Butt for Manchester United’s failure in the 1997/98 Champions League.

The Red Devils had an impressive European campaign, topping their group with five victories from six matches, including a thrilling 3-2 win over Italian heavyweights Juventus. Monaco were their opponents in the quarter-finals and, following a goalless draw in France it was all to play for in a second-leg showdown at Old Trafford.

It was a nightmare start for the home team as David Trezeguet fired a thunderbolt past Raimond Van der Gouw within the opening five minutes of the match. Despite a second-half equaliser from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United were knocked out of the competition following the 1-1 draw due to the away goals rule.

The exit meant it had been 30 years since United’s first – and only at that time – European Cup victory, forcing Ferguson to wait another year in his quest to end the long-standing drought, reports the Mirror. It was particularly hard to swallow for Butt, who initially lost possession in the build-up to Trezeguet’s goal.

Speaking on Amazon Prime’s new ’99’ documentary, the former midfielder described the tense confrontation he had with Ferguson. “By 1998, it’s like you’re never gonna do it,” Butt said. “That’s all we used to hear.

“If we fail it’ll all get thrown back into our face again, it’s now becoming our Achilles heel. But that night was just a disaster really.

“I got a ball off Dennis [Irwin] coming to me and I think I flicked it around the corner and then [David] Trezeguet, top bin goal. I go into the changing rooms thinking ‘that was a tough game that’.

“The manager is gone, his head’s gone, he’s lost that chance again for another year.” Butt added: “He’s looking for someone to blame. Anger’s coming out [and] his veins are pumped up in his neck, swearing and pointing his finger at me.

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