Neuer: We gave United too much respect
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Manuel Neuer has claimed words of praise from Sir Alex Ferguson were no consolation after Schalke's 2-0 defeat by Manchester United in last night's UEFA Champions League semi-final, first leg in Gelsenkirchen.

The 69-year-old Scot hailed the Germany international's display as the best goalkeeping performance against the Red Devils since he assumed their reins in 1986.

Neuer, who is set to leave Schalke in the summer, with Bayern Munich his expected destination, pulled off a succession of outstanding first-half saves to keep his side in the game before he was beaten by post-interval efforts from Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney.

Asked if Ferguson's comments made him proud, he said: "Of course it's nice to hear things like that. But we have lost 2-0 and that irritates me very much."

Of course it's nice to hear things like that. But we have lost 2-0 and that irritates me very much.
Manuel Neuer of Schalke on praise from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Neuer claimed Die Königsblauen showed United too much respect. "It was not [nerves], but the respect was very big - perhaps too big," he added.

The 25-year-old admitted his side now had "nothing more to lose" in the second leg at Old Trafford next week, but insisted they were not out of it.

"The first half will be nervous," he said. "If we go 1-0 up there, we'll still be in with a chance. The crowd will get nervous.

"They'll expect a clear win against the underdogs. But for that to happen we need a perfect day."

However, veteran forward Raul believes Schalke's hopes of making the final are all but over. "For us it will be very, very tough," he conceded.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness confirmed the club would soon start negotiations for Neuer, whose contract runs out next year, but insisted they would not pay through the nose.

"We have up till now not had any negotiations," Hoeness said in an interview with Munich' TZ newspaper. "That will now be addressed. We want Manuel, and where there's a will there's a way. But Schalke cannot now demand an astronomical price."