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Sir Alex Ferguson has hit back at Arsène Wenger’s suggestion that the Manchester United pitch was to blame for Arsenal’s performance in their 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford on Monday.

Ferguson believes it was a diversion tactic to take the emphasis away from the way, in his words, “we were by far the better team”. The United manager is aggrieved by Wenger’s remarks, believing them to be an unfair slight on the club’s groundstaff.

“I don’t think the pitch had anything to do with it,” he said. “We were just the better team. The pitch was good, fine. I’ve no problem with the pitch at all and it was a surprise to everyone that this was mentioned. I don’t think anyone can complain about our pitch.”

Wenger had spoken at length about the playing surface being the reason why “the technical quality of the game was very average”. He went on to describe it as “very bad”, saying it was not just uneven but “bouncy and slippery”, adding: “The pitch was so poor in my opinion and the game suffered a lot from it.” The midfielder, Jack Wilshere, followed it up on his Twitter page , saying: “The pitch was shocking. [United] wanted to stop us playing!”

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