Alex Ferguson says Manchester United were lucky to escape with all three points after their 2-1 win over gritty Southampton last night.
The Saints refused to give up under their new boss Mauricio Pochettino, and together with the patchy surface at Old Trafford, they provided stiffer resistance than United had bargained for.
After the match, Fergie praised Southampton’s performance, and hinted that the Old Trafford groundsmen will face his wrath for preparing a below-par pitch.
"In the second half, the players just found the pitch impossible," Ferguson told United’s website.
"We tried to play the way we normally play and found it difficult because the pitch had dried out a lot. It was an ice cold night and it happens.
"We lost an early goal but it didn't deter us from playing some fantastic football and we could have been four or five up at halftime, but once the pitch started to dry out the players found it difficult to play a different way and it really required us to play the ball into the gaps, which we don't normally do.
"For the first 30 minutes I thought we were fantastic, we played really well.
"But in the second half Southampton have been the best team to play here this season. We were fortunate to win the game.
"The pitch didn't help us. We can't use that as an excuse, but it didn't help us. It's a worry."
Pochettino meanwhile, was pleased to hear that Fergie thought the Saints were tough opposition.
But the United manager’s praise did little to quell the Argentine’s disappointment at failing to secure at least a point.
"I'm very proud (of Ferguson's praise)," he told the BBC.
"It's very important for my players to hear. But we leave with no points.
"We did play well but I'm upset at not getting a draw at least. It doesn't console me."