Fergie cools title talk

2009-04-26 12:57

Manchester - Sir Alex Ferguson refused to accept that the Premier League title race is over after his team moved three points clear at the top of the table thanks to a stunning 5-2 victory over Tottenham at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The United manager saw his side score five goals in 22 second-half minutes to recover from a 2-0 half-time deficit, but they benefited from a dubious 56th-minute penalty award from referee Howard Webb.

The official judged that Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes had tripped Michael Carrick, although replays suggested the decision was wrong - a theory backed up by furious Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.

Even Ferguson felt it had been a fortunate call, although his obvious pleasure at the manner in which his team played thereafter did not extend to him celebrating what would be the 11th English league title of his career.

"It would have made the title race wide open if we had lost this," said Ferguson.

"We would have been level with Liverpool with a game in hand and these games in hand don't matter to me. The best indication is the points you have at this moment.

"We have five games left, our opponents Liverpool and Chelsea have four, and we are whittling them down one by one. We are in a better position today than we were on Wednesday and we are one goal better off than we were on Wednesday.

"But I don't even think about Liverpool. What we have to remember is how slow we played in the first half and make sure we play at our pace. We will be much better."

Cristiano Ronaldo converted the penalty and added another goal, with Wayne Rooney also scoring twice. Dimitar Berbatov was the last man on the mark to cancel out the first-half efforts by Darren Bent and Luka Modric in emphatic fashion.

After such a poor first-half showing, the manner of United's comeback stands them in good stead ahead of their Champions League semi-final first leg meeting with Arsenal at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Rooney insisted that Ferguson had not been angry with his players at the interval.

"He just said if we scored one goal we would have a chance of winning the game, and thankfully we did that.

"We know we're in a great position. We're now three points clear with a game in hand and have to make sure we take advantage of that. It's another game gone and we're in a great position. This gives us a lot of belief and confidence going into the mid-week game."

However, for Tottenham, their momentum was abruptly halted by Webb's decision and Redknapp even had a complaint about United's equalising goal, claiming that the official had been about to award Spurs a free-kick before changing his mind and allowing the home team to attack.

"I thought there was no danger at 2-0," said Redknapp. "I honestly felt there were more goals in the game for us because every time we attacked, we looked dangerous.

"It's difficult to say when you end up letting in five, but the turning point was the penalty. It gave them such a lift, it was a gift that wasn't deserved, a terrible decision.

"Then, for the second goal, he was going to give us a free-kick because their right-back (Rafael Da Silva) was all over Modric, he had his whistle to his mouth to blow then said 'play on' and they attacked and scored.

"I'm not saying he is dishonest but he is supposed to be our best referee. If he is the best, on today's performance, I'd hate to see the worst."


  • dangerdoug - 2009-04-26 23:23

    indeed Harry should be miff, replays PROVE Gomes got his hand to the ball so a penalty should not have been awarded! Yet again Man U get "lucky" at Old Trafford. That did break Spurs resolve. Pity because they played well and bravely took the game to Man U.

  • Raj - 2009-04-27 16:32

    United deserved to win. Even if the penalty was not awarded it was just a matter of time before the dam wall burst. Funny we have heard very little of Mascherano's theatrics that lead to Liverpool being awarded a free kick that lead to their first goal.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-28 09:23

    Couldn't have said it better dangerdoug - penalty decision changed the game & Spurs looked out of it after the goal. BUT, WELL DONE to ManUre anyway - they kept the momentum & took advantage after that. From a Liverpool fan

  • Nazeem - 2009-04-28 09:57

    *YAWN*.. Dangerdoug, another issue for you United haters to moan about.... Get over it guys, even if you minus the two goals Harry is on about, we still won....

  • Krakatoa - 2009-04-28 11:59

    Referees are human, they make mistakes. Armchair critics have the advantage of replays, they don't. They see it as it happens. The same referee sent off two of United players in previous games this season, so he cannot be biased. United were denied a certian penalty in the FA Cup semifinal, no complaints, accept it and move on.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 10:19

    The choking Debt that MAN UTD are carrying is making them desperate enough to pay opposition players and referees to win games...they desperately need the GBP260 million to settle some of their debt! MAN UTD SUCKS!

  • TrueTreble - 2009-04-29 12:29

    Anonymous user, 10:19 am, Utd were without any debt when the Americans bought them. Unlike Liverpool and Chelsea, who were debt ridden when they were bought. Liverpool were R80m in debt and even more now. Chelsea are in debted to Abramovich, his money is interest free though. Arsenal, are in debt after building the new stadium. From all these clubs, in the last few years Man Utd was most successful. The Glazers will sell the club before the club breaks down. So if you are waiting for dooms day to have an orga, forget it, it wouldn't come (excuse the pun).

  • Red Blooded - 2009-04-29 12:44

    Typical Liverdrool fans. United won gents !!! Get over it. I wonder if the reaction would be the same if you losers were languishing in 5th spot like u were every other season.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 14:19

    5th spot ? Is this guy for real ? Has he even heard of the Big 4 ? Lighties again ...

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