Sir Alex Ferguson defended his decision to give referee Mike Dean a half-time blast of his hairdryer before Manchester United sealed another famous comeback win.
Javier Hernandez’s last-minute winner against Newcastle at Old Trafford gave United a 4-3 triumph yesterday from a game when they had trailed three times, and took them seven points clear of Manchester City.
But an incident-packed afternoon had one of its most notable moments as the teams came out for the second-half.
Ferguson first rounded on Dean, then fourth official Neil Swarbrick before finally launching into assistant referee Jake Collin over Newcastle’s second, an own-goal from Jonny Evans, which he was convinced should not have been allowed to stand.
“The referee changed the linesman’s mind,” said Ferguson after Collin had flagged for offside against Papiss Cisse, only to get over-ruled after Evans turned home Danny Simpson’s cross.
“He said it was an own goal. But if you see it again, and the referee can’t, the guy is in an offside position, then he pulls Evans’ arm.
“If that is not interfering what is? I think it was a bad decision.”
Yet former World Cup official Graham Poll had already taken to Twitter to insist Dean was correct, as Newcastle chief Alan Pardew also felt.
“At the time I thought it was an own goal,” Pardew said. “It doesn’t matter who is offside, he could be 20 yards offside if the defender sticks it in.
“I don’t know if the striker got a touch before the defender but I don’t think so. I can’t see a problem with it.”
The Premier League also confirmed that “as Cisse did not play the ball, then he was not interfering with play”.
They also stated that: “It is also the case that Cisse didn’t interfere with the opponent.”
It is now down to Dean to decide whether Ferguson overstepped the mark with his protestations, although he did have the option of sending the United boss to the stand, which he declined to do.