Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson admitted they relied heavily on goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar after victory at Sporting Lisbon last night.

"When I bought him three years ago I felt Edwin was going to be one of my best signings," said Ferguson. "I should have done it years ago when I had the chance but I let it slip through my fingers.

"He still has such great enthusiasm even though he has 120 caps for Holland and has won everything as a player.

"It is marvellous for our other keepers that they have someone like that to learn from."