Ferguson feared the worst
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he thought it was not going to be Manchester United's day before Robin van Persie came off the bench to score a last-minute equaliser and rescue a 2-2 draw at West Ham in a thrilling FA Cup third-round tie.
Irons midfielder Joe Cole had delivered a vintage display on his return to his boyhood club, setting up a double for defender James Collins with superb crosses from the left flank in each half to turn the tie around after Tom Cleverley had fired United into the lead on 23 minutes. However, as the clocked ticked into stoppage time, Dutchman Van Persie ghosted into the right side of the penalty area and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner to force a replay.
Ferguson said on MUTV: "We missed some good chances, with headers over the bar and (Shinji) Kagawa had one blocked on the line, I thought it was not going to be our day."
Ferguson was delighted to have made sure they did not suffer a disappointing early FA Cup exit.
The United boss added: "We want to stay in it and have a go at it this year.
"We have had some terrible draws over the years and been knocked out early and we don't enjoy that.
"For us to be losing 2-1 in that game is amazing with the way we played. But when you play West Ham you have got to defend those crosses and set pieces, because they are brilliant at that, the best team in the league, but we did not do that."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce admitted it was "more than a tad disappointing" not to have been able to close out what would have been a memorable victory.
"You have never beaten Manchester United until the final whistle blows and I have learned that in the past," he said. "When Matt Jarvis broke down the left-hand side late on and put in a great ball for Mark Noble to head down to Matt Taylor I was going, 'Please put it in', because Manchester United weren't going to come back from that.
"But if we didn't put it in (I knew) it would be nail-biting until the final whistle because somewhere along the line they might just carve out a chance with the quality that they have got."