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Media want Rooney 'hung' claims United boss Ferguson


United's assistant manager Phelan hopes to avoid Rooney 'witch hunt'

Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that the media would target Wayne Rooney after accusations he escaped a sending off in Manchester United's 4-0 win at Wigan.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez said Rooney deserved a red card after an early off-the-ball incident with James McCarthy.

"It's quite clear he catches him in the face with his elbow," stated Martinez.

But Ferguson said: "There's nothing in it... [but] as it is Wayne the press will raise a campaign to get him hung or electrocuted, something like that."

Home supporters were incensed by Rooney's eighth-minute challenge on McCarthy for which referee Mark Clattenburg awarded nothing more than a free-kick to Wigan.

Nine minutes later United took the lead through Javier Hernandez's clever finish, after which they kept Wigan at bay thanks to goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar before eventually winning with ease.

"I saw the incident clearly, and the referee did as well because he gave the free-kick," added Martinez.

"Once you give a free-kick it is quite clear that it is a red card.

"When you look at the replay, it is quite clear he catches James McCarthy in the face with his elbow.

"If one of my players had done that, I would think he was very lucky to stay on the pitch.

"It is a big call in the game. It is unfortunate because the referee saw it, but he didn't feel it was a red card. It was not because he was Wayne Rooney. It was an incident in the game. That is it."

United's assistant manager Mike Phelan played down the incident.

"We can't dispute the referee's decision," he said. "He's kept the game flowing and we're happy with that.

"There should not be a witch hunt. The referee was consistent with all his decisions. We should lie low a little bit, and let the powers that be take [control of] the game."

Rooney should have been sent off - Martinez

United manager Ferguson took an even stronger view.

"I have had a chance to see it," he said. "There is nothing in it.

"It is unbelievable. Watch the press. It will be interesting to see it [their reaction to the claims from Martinez]."

Rooney could be punished by the Football Association over the McCarthy incident, with the governing body due to consider Clattenburg's reportnon Monday.

With a second Hernandez goal plus strikes from Rooney and substitute Fabio putting league leaders United four points clear of Arsenal, Ferguson was happy with the result.

"It is a good one because this is a difficult place to come," he said.

"For the first 20 minutes, Wigan were terrific. Van der Sar made three great saves and another fantastic one in the second-half."

Ferguson had hoped to have Ryan Giggs back from a hamstring injury, and Michael Owen available following a groin strain.

Neither made it, but Giggs does have an outside chance of being involved at Stamford Bridge when United face the champions Chelsea on Tuesday.

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see also
Phelan hopes to avoid Rooney 'witch hunt'
26 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Wigan 0-4 Man Utd
26 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Saturday football as it happened
26 Feb 11 |  Football
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