Manchester United's Nani hails controversial goal against Tottenham last season as 'clever'

The Portuguese winger was criticised after his dubious goal in the 2-0 win against Spurs at Old Trafford, but he claims it was nothing more than good quick thinking

Manchester United winger Nani has praised his "clever" goal against Tottenham last season.

The Portuguese star caused controversy after he tapped the ball into an empty net from 12 yards after Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes had put the ball down to take a free kick.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp and his players remonstrated with the officials, saying they thought the referee had blown for a free kick after a Nani handball.

However, referee Mark Clattenburg had signalled to play on, and after a discussion with his assistant, the goal was allowed to stand.

Nani told reporters: “That was the strangest goal I think I've ever scored, most people were angry but I was clever because I understood the game.

“The keeper put the ball on the floor and took two steps back. I looked at the referee and he just said, ‘Yeah, OK’, so I took it quick and scored. It was not my fault.”

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson says he hopes Monday's game is not tarnished by a similar incident.

He said: “For the sake of Harry Redknapp's health I hope we can avoid the kind of controversial goal that last season had him jumping up and down in rage and frustration.”