'Slighted' Evra stands by racist abuse claims
Alex Ferguson said last night that Patrice Evra had felt "slighted" and "very aggrieved" over the racial abuse he said he received from Liverpool's Luis Suarez on Saturday and was "adamant" that he wanted to pursue his complaint against the Uruguayan.
Ferguson's response to the controversy was a measured, diplomatic one, which significantly stated that United had no issue with Liverpool. For all the battles he has fought with Saturday's opposition, he was careful to avoid drawing a racial dimension into the differences between the two clubs.
United expect contact tomorrow from the Football Association, who will first establish whether Evra wants to follow through his claim that the Uruguayan called him "n****r" more than 10 times during the 1-1 draw at Anfield.
"We spoke to Patrice today and he's adamant he wants to follow it on," Ferguson said. "It's not an easy one because everyone knows that United and Liverpool have great responsibilities in terms of what happens on the field.
Saturday's game was a terrific game and both sets of fans were good, there was none of the silly chanting we've heard in previous years and they deserve praise for that.
"It's not something we want to level at Liverpool, and it's not against Liverpool. Patrice feels very aggrieved at what was said to him and it rests in the hands of the FA now."
Ferguson's words did not convey the sense that there was the same body of evidence that United presented to the FA when Evra accused Chelsea groundsman Sam Bethell of calling him a "f***ing immigrant" with the case likely to be one man's claim against another's. It was significant that the manager said Evra was now faced with a decision.
United's game with Otelul Galati will be prefaced tonight with a 30-second "No to Racism" advertisement beamed on Bucharest's National Arena screen, though Ferguson insisted that the alleged abuse of Evra was an exceptional event in the English game.
"I am not aware of any instances (of racism) in terms of British football. We concentrate on our own game," Ferguson said.
"What happens in other countries, I am not really sure. I read about some things but I have never immersed myself in that kind of thing. It doesn't happen in England. Since I have come down (to England), we have had some fantastic players at United who have been black. Maybe this is what surprised Patrice.
"He thought he was slighted on Saturday. We don't want to see it. It is as simple as that."
Evra travelled to Romania yesterday but, despite playing a starring role for United at Anfield, Rio Ferdinand has been left behind to prepare for Sunday's Manchester Derby.
Ferguson knows the 32-year-old defender's body is no longer what it was. "He played very well on Saturday but playing three games in seven days is lot to ask of players when they get to their 30s," said the United boss.
"It is the right moment to give him a rest."
The decision was made easier by the presence of skipper Nemanja Vidic on the three-and-a-half hour flight into eastern Europe.
Vidic has been missing since injuring his calf at West Brom on August 14 but is expected to partner either Jonny Evans or Phil Jones in the National Stadium, being used because Otelul's home 150 miles away does not meet UEFA standards. (© Independent News Service)
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