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Ferguson queries referee fitness

Alex Ferguson
Manchester United boss Ferguson felt more time should have been added

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson questioned referee Alan Wiley's fitness after his side's 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

Anton Ferdinand's injury-time own-goal gave United a point, but it was Wiley's display that incurred Ferguson's wrath.

He said: "The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit.

"You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher's dogs. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player. He was needing a rest. It was ridiculous."

Ferguson twice headed towards the touchline during the second half to make his feelings known about decisions made by the officials.

606: DEBATE

At one point, after he felt Anderson was denied a penalty, he jabbed his finger at fourth official Mike Dean and then pointed angrily to the pitch.

The 49-year-old Wiley was fourth official in the recent Manchester derby when United beat City with a controversial 96th-minute goal, after four minutes of stoppage time had been signalled.

And as well as Wiley's fitness levels, Ferguson was unhappy about the referee's timekeeping after he failed to add on an additional minute to the four already signalled after Ferdinand's own goal.

"I was disappointed with the referee," said Ferguson. "He didn't add on any time for the goal.

"He played four minutes and two seconds. He was also walking up the pitch for the second goal needing a rest."

Man Utd crowd deserved more - Phelan

Ferguson's side put in a poor performance, with keeper Ben Foster at fault for the second-half header from Kenwyne Jones, which put the visitors 2-1 ahead.

"It was a soft goal to lose," admitted Ferguson. "Our passing was very poor in the first half.

"In the end we needed to show some great qualities to get something out of the game on a day when we played really badly."

Darren Bent had given Sunderland the perfect start, driving home his seventh goal of the season after just seven minutes.

United created little in reply until after half-time when Dimitar Berbatov found the net with a magnificent overhead kick.

Jones got above Foster to nod home Andy Reid's cross, but as Sunderland looked to gain their first Old Trafford win since 1968, former United winger Kieran Richardson was then sent off.

Draw feels like a defeat - Bruce

"It was stupid," said Sunderland boss Steve Bruce. "It is hard enough to defend here with 11 players.

"These things happen in the heat of the moment but it could have cost us the game."

United got the equaliser after one last assault at the visitors' goal saw Ferdinand unluckily deflect Patrice Evra's shot past goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

"It is totally disappointing," said Bruce. "I don't know what the stat is for the number of times Manchester United have done that but it is what makes this club what it is I suppose.

"It just proves you have to go down to the wire. Even when they don't play well, they always seem to get something out of it. They never give in."



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see also
Man Utd 2-2 Sunderland
03 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Angry Hughes bemoans timekeeping
21 Sep 09 |  Man City
Boss Ferguson hails 'best derby'
20 Sep 09 |  Man Utd
Ferguson upset with referee Wiley
25 Oct 08 |  Football


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