MANCHESTER, January 20 – Sir Alex Ferguson insisted he had no regrets about allowing Carlos Tevez to leave Manchester United despite the City forward scoring both goals in his new club's 2-1 victory in the first leg of the League Cup Cup semi-final.The return leg, at Old Trafford on Wednesday, is finely balanced after Tevez, with a controversial penalty, equalised Ryan Giggs’ opening goal before scoring the second half winner.
In a tie full of ill-feeling between the two old rivals, police were investigating claims that a cigarette lighter was thrown at United defender Patrice Evra during the second half and of cases of missiles being thrown by supporters at each other.
Further, Tevez made a ‘Be quiet’ gesture at former team mate Gary Neville on the United bench after scoring his goal, with the defender being photographed making an obscene gesture at Tevez in response.
The dispute between the two players seemed to stem from comments made by Neville on the day of the game claiming United were correct to allow Tevez to leave.
Tevez was central to much of the animosity, and much of the on-field drama, and has now scored 13 goals in his last 11 games although Ferguson claimed he does not regret the decision not to stand in the way of him leaving the club and moving to City.
"That’s just the way it happens," said Ferguson. "It can be like that. It can bite you. We’ve had a few players leave the club and score against us. It’s not an issue. I’m happy with the players we have.
"It will be a Man United crowd at Old Trafford and with the occasion and what is at stake we will be okay. The fans have a part to play. The most important thing is that we perform like we did today."
For opposite number Roberto Mancini, his first taste of a Manchester derby was one to remember although the City manager was in no mood to become embroiled in the controversy.
"Carlos played a big game very well. He scored two important goals, but we played very well after 1-0," he said. "To score twice against United showed that we recovered very well and it’s important that we won the game.
"It’s not a big advantage, but it is an advantage. Are we favourites? I think we have a 51 per cent chance.
"I am very happy for Carlos because he is an ex-United player. I don’t know if what was said made a difference for Carlos. I just hope that he plays as well in the second game because it will be very difficult at Old Trafford.
"What is important is that we have won. I don’t know whether they made a mistake letting him go. I am just happy that he plays for us."
City’s penalty was controversial, as Rafael pulled back Craig Bellamy outside the area, continuing the infringement in the area and conceding the spot kick.
"I’m not getting into the penalty. Everybody can see it for themselves," said Ferguson. "The kind of decision that’s gone against us today may go for us another day.
"I thought we played well. We dominated the match. There were a mad couple of minutes before the equalising goal. We lost our composure for 15 minutes. After that we were okay.
"For most of the game we were reasonably in control but the mad two minutes before half-time brought them back into the game."
The return leg is difficult to predict, given a flurry of late United chances, but City midfielder Gareth Barry summed up the feeling in the City camp that Tevez can have a decisive role next week.
"Carlos was the difference between the two teams," said Barry. "All the talk before the game was about him and he has done his talking on the pitch with a great performance. That’s the way it’s written. He deserved his goals because of the way he worked."
"The tie is still in the balance and we expect a tough game at Old Trafford. They will push on and we expect a battle again."