Premier League - United blank media after defeat

Sun, 06 Mar 22:01:00 2011

A bad day for Manchester United may get even worse after Alex Ferguson failed to show for any of his post-match duties in the aftermath of Sunday's 3-1 defeat at Liverpool.

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Ferguson cancelled his pre-match briefing on Friday in protest at the coverage given to his post-match quotes at Chelsea on Tuesday that have landed him with an improper conduct charge, plus the furore that surrounded Wayne Rooney's elbowing of Wigan's James McCarthy last weekend.

In a pre-planned move, United also blanked the media on Sunday. Ferguson did not speak to host broadcaster Sky Sports, either before or after his side's third Premier League defeat of the season.

His assistant Mike Phelan did not carry out his usual post-match engagements with the BBC, arranged due to Ferguson's long-standing feud with the organisation. Radio rights holders talkSPORT were also left without any comment from the visitors.

Should any of these organisations complain to the Premier League, the governing body will be forced to act, escalating the problem between Ferguson and the BBC, with the fines for his non-compliance still waiting to be made public.

For the first time, even United's own television channel, MUTV, left a senior game without any reaction, which is an embarrassing situation in itself.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish admits his side have some way still to go before they can consistently challenge United for the title once again.

The Reds' win over their arch-rivals dealt a blow to the Old Trafford club's bid for a record-breaking 19th championship, a figure which would take them past the Merseysiders' tally.

But Dalglish said: "The closer you get to the top the more difficult it is to close the gap. Moving from 20th to sixth is not as big a problem as moving from two to one, so the higher you go the more difficult the step up is.

"United are a great benchmark but our season is not finished. We got our reward for the victory in three points in the league but we just want to keep going and get as many as we possibly can.

"The owners (Americans Fenway Sports Group) are determined to move the club forward within reason, whatever that is going to be they will do their best to provide it. But the players who played there did not do themselves any harm in terms of being part of the club going forward."

He added: "I thought both sets of players were fantastic credit and made it an enjoyable spectacle for everyone."

Match Highlights: Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp admitted defender Alan Hutton was fortunate not to be sent off as his side were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw at Wolves in Sunday's other match.

Hutton appeared to deny Nenad Milijas a clear goalscoring opportunity when he pulled him back inside the box at the end of the first half, and though he had not seen a re-run of the incident Redknapp conceded Hutton should have been dismissed.

He said: "There were bodies 70 yards away from me in the box and the ref has suddenly given the penalty. I didn't have a clue why he had give it because we couldn't see from the dug-out.

"I haven't looked at the video. But, if he pulled his arm, it must be a clear goalscoring opportunity. He is very lucky not to get sent off then."

Wolves were also aggrieved to have a Richard Stearman effort ruled out for a foul on Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes. But Redknapp, who was excited by the return from injury of Gareth Bale, claimed: "I thought that was a foul. He was looking at Gomes and not the ball."

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy also believed Hutton should have had his marching orders.

"All I can say is if someone gets pulled back in the box and it stops them from scoring, then it should be a red card," he said. "If Hutton pulled him back, it is a red card.

McCarthy was also sore about the decision to disallow Stearman's effort, but was otherwise delighted with his team's performance.

"The keeper always seems to get the benefit of the doubt. It is a poor decision," he said.

"We deserved a point. Their third goal was down to gross stupidity from us but we played some terrific stuff."

PA Sport

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