Wednesday 25 April 2018

Ferguson seeing red over Bowyer tackle

Ian Herbert

Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson felt Birmingham goal hero Lee Bowyer should have been sent off for his first-half challenge on Darron Gibson during the 1-1 draw at St Andrews.

Bowyer received a yellow card from referee Lee Mason after a late lunge at Ireland midfielder Gibson, who was starting his first Premier League game since April.

Ferguson felt Bowyer, who who was also on the receiving end of a hefty challenge from Ryan Giggs, should have been given his marching orders and he took advantage of staying on the pitch by scoring a last gasp equaliser.

The United chief fumed: "The Bowyer tackle in the first half, I thought it was a red card. He's gone over the top of the ball. Bowyer has been given a yellow card so nothing can be done about it (retrospectively). But it's a dangerous tackle."

Ferguson's anger was also not helped when replays suggested Blues striker Nikola Zigic had been guilty of handball and another foul in the build-up to Bowyer's point-saving goal.

Ferguson will hope that Arsenal will find it as difficult as the other leading teams when they visit Birmingham on Saturday.


Alex McLeish's side have already beaten Chelsea and drawn with Tottenham at home this season, in addition to gaining the point against United which moved them out of the bottom three.

Ferguson said: "Maybe it will be seen as a good point in the long run. Absolutely. Birmingham is a very difficult place to come to.

"You see their home record in terms of goals against them. Very few teams score goals at Birmingham. That has been going on since Alex (McLeish) came here as a manager. They set their stall out very well."

In the cold light of day, Ferguson can reflect with satisfaction on United heading into the New Year on top of the table.

They have lost only two league matches during 2010 and remain unbeaten in the top flight during this campaign.

Ferguson said: "I always say if we get to that top position on New Year's Day, then we've always got a great chance. There's five or six teams who are all contesting that area towards the top of the league."

With Wayne Rooney still without a club goal from open play in nine months, Ferguson will be relieved that Dimitar Berbatov continues to sparkle.

The Bulgarian's 15th goal of the campaign at St Andrew's means he has already passed his totals of 12 and 14 for his previous two campaigns at Old Trafford.

Ferguson said: "Dimitar is in great form and it is good to see that. His confidence is high too -- and that is important."

Despite the lack of goals from strikers other than Berbatov, Federico Macheda looks likely to be sent on loan, with the 19-year-old likely to leave Old Trafford for six months.

The striker has scored only once in 12 appearances this season and with Ferguson insisting earlier this week that any club hoping to take Michael Owen from Old Trafford next month is deluded, a loan deal with Juventus, Fiorentina or his hometown club Lazio seems to be a possibility.

Danny Welbeck's release to Sunderland for the season has already deprived Ferguson of one young striker, but the success of Javier Hernandez reduces the need for Macheda, who is yet to deliver from the start of games as he does from the bench.

"Federico could leave United, that is true, but only on loan," said the Italy U-21 star's agent Marcello Bonetto.

"The club and Ferguson have absolute faith in (him). With the return of Michael Owen, confirmation of Wayne Rooney, plus fine form of Dimitar Berbatov, the space for him in Manchester has been reduced.

"We talked it over and were given the all-clear by Ferguson to go on loan for six months in January to gain experience. Until now we have not been contacted by anybody, but will only choose a club that can guarantee Federico consistent playing time. That's the only reason for leaving Manchester." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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