LONDON: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson criticised West Ham United for their aggression and claimed Andy Carroll should have been sent off after his side drew 2-2 at Upton Park.
Robin van Persie hit a 77th-minute equaliser to leave United 13 points above nearest rivals Manchester City with five games to play in the Premier League, but Ferguson was critical of the hosts’ approach.
“We know how they play — the ball’s in the air most of the time, you’ve got to defend those things, and they’re very, very aggressive, as we’ve seen tonight,” he said. “You hope there’s a strong referee — I’m not so sure we got that.”
Ferguson was particularly aggrieved that referee Lee Probert failed to punish West Ham striker Carroll for a full-blooded first-half challenge that left United goal-keeper David de Gea flat on the turf.
Carroll claimed afterwards that his ‘momentum’ had been responsible for the collision, but Ferguson said the on-loan Liverpool striker should have been sent off.
“I think it’s obvious. I don’t think you need to dwell on that. It’s an obvious red card, but the referee’s seen it differently.”
United could win the title as early as Monday, if they win at home to Aston Villa and City lose at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Ferguson was content with his side’s form as the title race enters its decisive phase.
“It’s one game away again. We’ve got five games left, three at home and two away. The players are showing they want to win it.”
Benitez won’t make any promises to Terry
Meanwhile Chelsea interim manager has told captain John Terry that he is not guaranteed to start against Liverpool despite scoring twice in the 3-0 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Terry headed in a brace of goals following centre-back partner David Luiz’s 35-yard screamer as the Blues moved third in the Premier League by leapfrogging Arsenal on Wednesday.
“He has to be happy scoring goals,” said Benitez. “It’s good for him and the team. I’m really pleased it was a good performance. I prefer these problems [to leave him out].
“The players have to be ready. We have eight or nine games to play and everyone has to be on his toes and ready to perform.”
Mancini backs Wigan to beat the drop
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini backed Wigan to avoid relegation following his side’s 1-0 win over the Latics.
A stunning late strike from Carlos Tevez denied Roberto Martinez’s Wigan a point after a gutsy display from the visitors at Eastlands on Wednesday.
“I think Wigan will stay up because they play very well, they do not deserve to be relegated and also because Roberto Martinez is a good manager, his team plays very well,” said Mancini.
“I think they are the best football team at the bottom, they do not play long ball, they take some risks. They fight every year down there and for this reason I think they deserve to stay up.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2013.
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