Fergie blasts Dalglish over referee row

Sir Alex Ferguson has accused Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish of having a short memory as the Manchester United manager vowed to fight a charge of improper conduct.

Updated: March 12, 2011 23:32 IST
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Manchester: Sir Alex Ferguson has accused Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish of having a short memory as the Manchester United manager vowed to fight a charge of improper conduct.

Ferguson is facing an extended touchline ban following comments about referee Martin Atkinson in the wake of his side's controversial Premier League defeat at Chelsea last week.

The Scot claimed such a high-profile match required a "fair" official and that as soon as he realised Atkinson would be in charge he "feared the worst".

Ferguson believes his words were vindicated by Atkinson's failure to dismiss David Luiz for fouls on Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney after the Brazilian had already been booked, plus the subsequent penalty decision against Chris Smalling which allowed Frank Lampard to drive home the winner.

However, his comments have been called into question by both Dalglish, whose Liverpool side beat United at Anfield last weekend, and former England coach Graham Taylor.

Ferguson is furious that Dalglish and Taylor have criticised him and he hit back in the programme notes for Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal at Old Trafford.

"I was disappointed with Graham Taylor, who wrote that I had to take 'the rough with the smooth'," Ferguson said.

"I think back to when he was England manager and was complaining to a linesman: 'The referee has got me the sack.' People have short memories.

"Kenny Dalglish looked to be lecturing me in the papers about the need to respect referees, perhaps forgetting that not so long ago his players were tweeting critically all over the place about Howard Webb."

Ferguson was referring to the mock-up picture of World Cup final referee Webb in a Manchester United shirt that was posted by Ryan Babel in the aftermath of Liverpool's FA Cup third-round defeat at Old Trafford in January, which earned the Dutchman a £10,000 fine.

Taylor's comments about officials that Ferguson mentioned came during a qualifier for the 1994 World Cup when England lost to Holland in controversial circumstances and ended up being eliminated.

Ferguson is determined to defend himself against the FA charge and he added: "I felt aggrieved and I now face an FA charge for what, to my mind, was simply telling the truth.

"I will be defending myself strongly when my FA appeal hearing comes up.

"In fact, I am looking forward to the challenge because, to my mind, I have not said anything out of place, however much the media urge the FA to take action.

"The papers keep on and on about it because Manchester United are involved, and they failed to get the FA Compliance Unit to pick up on the Wayne Rooney incident in the Wigan game.

"I won't be on the back foot when I put my case to the FA, though. I don't think sticking up for my team makes me a villain, especially when you consider that Manchester United have one of the best disciplinary records in the country."

Ferguson also made reference to the matter in his press conference on Friday which ended a media blackout that he insists had nothing to do with the reporting of his latest indiscretion but purely because United were on the receiving end of so much negative publicity.

"It has been a tumultuous week," said Ferguson. "But we will get over it.

"Don't read too much into the fact that I withdrew my briefings for the media; that was simply because I felt that the spotlight was burning on us so brightly that the best policy at that point was least said, soonest mended.

"At that particular time I didn't think we would win the media battles, so I retreated."

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