O’Neill: Ronaldo goal was the turning point

He said: “We played well up until the first goal. We took the game to United and I thought we were giving as good as we were getting. But it was disappointing to lose the first goal in the fashion we did.

“We were attacking in their half, lost possession and Ronaldo runs a fair distance and scores at the second attempt.

“We lost a bit of shape after that. They then scored a terrific second goal through Scholes and we were chasing the game from then on.

“But we were up against a team that will be challenging very strongly for the Championship.

“I have the utmost respect and admiration for Sir Alex Ferguson. He is putting another team together who can challenge strongly.

“Eventually Manchester United beat us quite well but I’m not so sure the scoreline tells the whole story.

“They are a class side which we will hope to aspire to one day – but that is some distance off.”