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evra: spot row hides truth

Patrice Evra believes Manchester United must look beyond their obvious frustration at an inexplicable penalty decision at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Rio Ferdinand admitted on Twitter after the 1-1 draw with Newcastle he felt unable to express his true feelings about linesman John Flynn for fear of ending up with a hefty fine.

Ferdinand did appear to mouth "joke" in the immediate aftermath of referee Mike Jones' refusal to overrule his assistant, whom he consulted with despite having originally indicated the defender's challenge on Hatem Ben Arfa was worthy of nothing more than a corner.

Alex Ferguson went further, questioning whether Flynn should ever be appointed to another Premier League game and raising the issue of a disparity between full-time referees and part-time assistants.

This may warrant further action by the Football Association, especially as United's in-house station, MUTV, appeared to cut a portion of Ferguson's post-match interview with them out of their broadcast.

As MUTV were embarrassingly responsible for broadcasting the explosive comments Ferguson made about Martin Atkinson in the wake of his side's defeat at Chelsea in March, which ended with him being forced to serve a five-match touchline ban, it may be nothing more than adopting a safety-first attitude on the station's part.

Ferguson was clearly not happy though, a sentiment that could be applied to his entire squad and backroom staff, some of whom were still expressing their incredulity 90 minutes after the final whistle.

Evra was one of those who made his feelings plain to Jones as Demba Ba was celebrating his equaliser.

However, after a game in which United spurned half a dozen glorious chances, the France full-back feels his team-mates would be well served to adopt a more reflective stance.



trusted

"The referee took the responsibility. He went to see the linesman. He said, are you sure?" said Evra.

"He said he was sure it was a penalty so the referee trusted his man. What can you say about that?

"But we have to focus more on the chances that we missed because we could have won the game before that accident."

Unusually, Javier Hernandez was one of the chief culprits.

Although the Mexican opened the scoring, even if he did not know anything about it, as Steven Taylor smashed an attempted clearance straight at him, he wasted "four one-on-ones" according to Ferguson.

In addition, he had a last-gasp effort correctly ruled out for offside, having already been foiled by former United full-back Danny Simpson, who was perfectly placed to boot a goalbound header off the line.

"I am keeping my head down," said the Salford-born defender. "I have already had a few texts from friends who are not very happy.

"United are quality. When you look at the chances, people might ask why they didn't win the game."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has instilled an inner belief amongst his squad, who after last week's defeat at Manchester City, must now steel themselves for another stern test, at home to Chelsea.

In contrast, United will lick their wounds and wait to hear whether the FA are going to take any action on Ferguson.

The draw left United looking over their shoulders at a quickly closing Tottenham.

Not that Ferguson is giving off the air of a worried man.

"I will worry in April," he said, curtly, when asked about his fears.


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