Home » EPL, Latest » Fergie blames ref for costing Man United a victory

Sir Alex Ferguson effectively accused referee Lee Mason of costing Manchester United a two-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Tuesday night by failing to spot a clear handball by Nikola Zigic before Lee Bowyer’s 89th minute equaliser.

The Manchester United manager began the year by criticising a referee at St Andrew’s, branding Mark Clattenburg’s decision to send off Darren Fletcher “absolutely ridiculous” after the 1-1 draw in January.

And he did a good job of ending 2010 in a similar style, holding Mason responsible for not seeing Zigic’s handball in this Premier League encounter, or what he felt was a foul on Rio Ferdinand, before Bowyer cancelled out Dimitar Berbatov’s 58th-minute opening goal for United.

“Handball, foul on the centre-half,” Ferguson said, ticking off the felonies. “He went right through him. If the referee can’t see that what chance have you got?

“At this level and in a game of this importance you expect them to see that.”

Ferguson added: “It was terribly harsh. We outplayed them in the second half. We didn’t deserve that. We were the better team.

“I have no complaints with my players. We deserved to win.”

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish had a different take on it.

“It looks like came off Zigic’s arm, but he doesn’t do it deliberately,” he said. “It is a melee. It would have been harsh if it had been penalised as a deliberate handball.”

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