'Travesty' - Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson slams officials after Newcastle draw
Sir Alex Ferguson has labelled Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle “a travesty” as he tried to take in the Magpies’ controversial equaliser at Old Trafford.
The hosts were leading through Javier Hernandez’s second-half effort when Rio Ferdinand slid in on Hatem Ben Arfa.
Referee Mike Jones indicated a corner, only for linesman John Flynn to signal for a penalty.
TV replays indicated Ferdinand’s challenge had been legal but after discussing the decision with Flynn, Jones refused to overrule his assistant and Demba Ba tucked home the spot-kick.
"To not get the three points from that is just a travesty," said Ferguson.
"It was everyone’s view, including the referee. He thought Rio won the ball and gave a corner. He has let the linesman overrule him."
Ferguson recounted an incident in the home game against Sunderland earlier this month, when a linesman flagged for a penalty, only for referee Lee Mason to, correctly, give the decision in United’s favour as an example of what should have happened.
"We had a situation a few weeks ago," he said. "The linesman gave a penalty for a handball, which was obviously an opponent’s hand.
"He was put in a terrible quandary. He didn’t know what to do.
"But he knew full well it was a handball from an opponent and overruled the linesman. That is what he should have done today."
United players surrounded Jones at the final whistle, with Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney particularly upset as they made their way off the field.
However, Newcastle deserved some credit for the barrage of late attacks they managed to withstand, despite having Jonas Gutierrez sent off.
Tim Krul made a string of fine saves, former United defender Danny Simpson denied Hernandez with a magnificent goalline clearance and the Mexican had an effort ruled out for offside deep into stoppage time.
"It was a fantastic performance by us and an incredible result," said Ferguson.
"I could see us scoring because we kept creating chances and the normal pattern of these 15-minute surges is that we take our chances and we are okay.
"They put their bodies on the line. I give them credit for that.
"We absolutely slaughtered them but we just couldn’t get the result.
"It is disappointing but if we play like that every week, I will be very happy."
But Sir Alex confirmed Rooney should return for the encounter with Alan Pardew’s men, though the rest of the news on the injury front wasn’t so positive, with Anderson set to be out until February with a knee injury.
"I think Wayne Rooney should be okay for tomorrow," the boss told his Friday press conference. "He trained yesterday so hopefully he’ll be okay.
"We’ve got Vidic back after suspension, of course. Smalling is fit again, which is also a boost, and Rafael’s back as well. So the defensive part is okay. Michael Owen’s also still injured, of course.
"It’s in the midfield area where we’ve still got issues, with Tom Cleverley and Anderson. So that’s two midfield players who are going to be missing for a spell now."
Newcastle are riding high in the league and only suffered their first defeat of the campaign against leaders Manchester City last weekend.
Sir Alex is a confirmed admirer of Pardew and believes his opposite number can take much credit for the Magpies’ current healthy position.
"He is very meticulous in training, he’s grasped the nettle at Newcastle very well and he’s showing he’s determined to succeed," Sir Alex said. "They’re all working like Trojans up there.
"He was very unfortunate in some of his previous appointments – he was one minute away from winning the cup [as manager of West Ham].
"Newcastle aren’t doing much wrong at the moment and the quality of the league is improving – you can throw a net over the top five or six."
Newcastle is United’s final league game in November before the start of the traditionally hectic festive period, in which the Reds face seven games in December alone.
"December is an ardous month for everyone," Sir Alex said. "But you have a chance in this league if you’re still in the ball park by new year. And the way this club is organised to perform in the second half of the season helps us."