Fergie unfussed by penalty claims

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson felt no guilt after Chelsea were denied a penalty in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.

The Chelsea players claimed they should have had a spot-kick in injury time when Ramires appeared to be brought down by United full-back Patrice Evra.

Spanish referee Alberto Mallenco waved away the appeals to allow United to take a 1-0 lead to Old Trafford, courtesy of a Wayne Rooney first-half strike, in the second leg next Tuesday.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti was incensed with the officials.

He said of the penalty claim: "It was clear. For everyone. Everyone knows it was clear.

"The problem is I know it's sometimes not easy to give the penalty in the last minute and you need to have personality, courage and character. Not always do referees have these kind of skills.

"I'm disappointed but this is the result. Not just the referee, but the assistant was in the right position to decide that was a penalty.

"I said to the referee (after the game) that it was a penalty and he needed to whistle. He said nothing. No answer.

"The players are aggrieved. But we have to forget it and be focused for the next game. We have to try our best there."

Ferguson maintained he had not studied the incident on television but believed it was justice for the misfortunes United have suffered at Stamford Bridge in the past.

Ferguson said: "Yeah, someone said it could have been a penalty. It was the first penalty decision we've had in seven years, so we're due one.

"But I don't feel guilty about that at all. It was a 50-50 from where I was and I don't know what the contact situation was."

On a second penalty claim in the dying moments for which Chelsea striker Fernando Torres received the yellow card, Ferguson added: "He dived, he got booked for it."

Ferguson, however, was delighted with Rooney's performance after five days under the spotlight following his four-letter outburst at Upton Park on Saturday.

Rooney's strike came after 23 minutes, dispatching the chance clinically following a sweeping crossfield pass from Michael Carrick and a deft pull-back from Ryan Giggs.

Ferguson said: "Work-rate, desire, he was top quality. He took a great lot of abuse and late tackles on him, but he was excellent.

"He's now been more regular with his goalscoring which, in the last part of the season, is going to be important to us. That was important for us tonight. We were pleased with that performance."

Ferguson refused to confirm whether Rooney, who learns on Thursday the outcome of his appeal against the length of his two-match ban for his outburst at Upton Park, would be playing against Fulham on Saturday.

But he promised not to be complacent about the second leg at Old Trafford.

Ferguson said: "We have to be very careful and have to give a top performance, but the atmosphere will help us.

"I hope we get through Saturday's game without any further injuries. Anderson will be back against Fulham. It'll be a tight game at Old Trafford."

United's one sour note was the sight of full-back Rafael being carried off with a knee injury which forced Antonio Valencia to go to right-back.

"They overloaded in midfield, and you have to be clever how you handle that," said Ferguson. "Ji-Sung Park was fantastic in there and did a great job. We did well considering we had to take Rafael off, with Valencia going to right-back.

"It's an advantage, but the biggest advantage is Old Trafford. It'll be an electric atmosphere."

Ancelotti believed his side had been unlucky and admitted they now had an uphill task.

He said: "It's not easy, but I think we have to try. Obviously we know it will be difficult to win there.

"We have confidence to do it. Last year it was the same - we had to win at Old Trafford and we did this.

"We are at a disadvantage now, but the performance was good. Not 100% but, in general, we had good control but conceded a goal too easily.

"We had opportunities, worked hard, and had a clear chance to have a penalty at the end.

"We hit the post in the first half. We had some opportunities to score: we didn't deserve to lose, but it doesn't matter. We have to change the result at Old Trafford.

"It's just 90 minutes. We have another 90 minutes to play.

"If we were 1-0 up it would be a different situation at Old Trafford. Now we're 1-0 down and we have to play attacking football to win this game."

Source: Team Talk
Date Published: 7 April 2011

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Have your say on Fergie unfussed by penalty claims in the United Online forum

I thought Carrick was excellent - can't remember the last time I've said that, if ever! Committed in the tackle and what a ball that was to play Giggsy in for the goal. More of that please!

- Jonesy

Great performance. Yes we rode our luck at times but you need to do that in big games, they are rarely easy wins. Have taken a punt and booked flights for Schalke while they were cheap.

- Oli

I know over the years he's done some stupid stuff, but for me Rio is the best defender i've seen at the club. He was immense tonight, and the way he just slots in after being out for so long is a credit to his (new-found) professionalism. With him, Vidic and VDS we have a great chance in all 3 remaining competitions. Its a fantastic scoreline to take back to OT, but the tie still isnt over and the players and fans will have to be at their best next Tuesday if we're to go through without a scare. You can never write off a team that has Lampard, Anelka, Drogba and Torres on its books. Still, it couldnt have gone much better tonight.

- twoc2002

Great game, we were lucky at the end but we will take the win.

- Minnesota Berbatov

Iv never been so happy to be wrong about everything! Great result Rio was excellent and Carrick had one of his best games in a long time. Roll on next Tuesday!

- Munsterman

I'm not feeling too confident about this one. Hopefully we can get a goal and take something back to Old Trafford for the second leg but i can see them winning tonight. Hopefully Smalling starts i don't think it would be a good idea throwing Rio straight back in.

- Munsterman

I'm pretty confident that we can win at the Bridge. Especially as we should have a decent referee for a change (I hope!) 3 consecutive matches agaisnt the rentboys have been settled by poor refereeing decisions. 2-1 to the Reds wouldn't surprise me in the least. If the back four can stay focused and keep it together, we'll be fine. We can score on anyone.

- Darren

Not sure why but I can actually see us coming away with a win from Stamford Bridge. 2-1 or 1-0 to United with a late goal would be great. I'd settle for a draw though or even a defeat by the odd goal as long as we get the away goal.

- Dave

We're at that time of the season when I start to get nervous more than 24 hours before kick off... butterflies in the stomach all day today. Fergie has hinted that we will go with an attacking line-up to try and notch up some away goals. Hopefully that means something like: ------------ VDS Rafael Smalling Vidic Evra Valencia Scholes Carrick Nani -------- Rooney Hernandez Although I'd want to squeeze Berbatov in there somewhere I think Hernandez' pace is vital, especially as Luiz is cup-tied. I can see goals at both ends. So long as we keep our heads (no silly cards) we should be able to come away in the driving seat, although Vidic will need to have a better game than he did at Upton Park.

- fenwar