Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Furious Fergie and Manchester United in heap of trouble

Manchester United's (from left) Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and manager Alex Ferguson after the final whistle during the Barclays Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London
Manchester United's (from left) Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and manager Alex Ferguson after the final whistle during the Barclays Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London
Chelsea's Frank Lampard celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: David Luiz of Chelsea challenges Javier Hernandez of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Wayne Rooney (L) of Manchester United celebrates his goal with team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Patrice Evra of Manchester United is challenged by Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea challenges Wayne Rooney of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United exchanges words with referee Martin Atkinson during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Javier Hernandez of Manchester United is challenged by Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United exchanges words with referee Martin Atkinson after the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Ryan Giggs of Manchester United passes watched by Fernando Torres of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: John Terry of Chelsea is closed down by Wayne Rooney of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates scoring his penalty with Didier Drogba during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Frank Lampard of Chelsea wins a header against Michael Carrick (L) and Paul Scholes of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United goes head to head with referee Martin Atkinson after being shown the red card during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United holds his head during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United is shown the red card by referee Martin Atkinson during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates scoring his penalty during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Fernando Torres and John Terry (L) of Chelsea make their point with Patrice Evra of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on March 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Angry Sir Alex Ferguson faces a possible Football Association charge after he questioned the integrity of referee Martin Atkinson in the aftermath of Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea last night.

The result blew the Premier League title race wide open. And to make matters worse for United, sent off skipper Nemanja Vidic misses Sunday’s crucial trip to bitter rivals Liverpool.

It left Ferguson furious that Chelsea defender David Luiz had not been sent off for a cynical challenge on Wayne Rooney. He was also disgusted that Atkinson had awarded Chelsea a late penalty, for a foul by Chris Smalling on substitute Yuri Zhirkov, which Frank Lampard converted to earn his team a vital victory.

The United manager has a history of criticising Atkinson, and was handed a severe warning after comments he made in 2008.

But that did not prevent Ferguson from launching into another onslaught following their second league defeat of the season.

Ferguson said: “It's hard to take; we didn't deserve that. You hope you get a really strong referee in games like this.

“It was a major game for both clubs and you want a fair referee, you know... you want a strong referee anyway and we didn't get that. I must tell you that when I saw who was refereeing it, I feared the worst.”

Ferguson's comments will almost certainly bring FA action.

The defeat leaves United still four points ahead of Arsenal who have a game in hand.

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