United Lost Because They Were Playing with a Man Short. The Referee
Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid triumphed in a high class soccer spectacle. But watch and wait for Ferguson’s moaning.
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Everyone hates us – we don’t care.
That will be one of the themes Manchester United soccer manager Alex Ferguson will use in his personal analysis of the wreckage of his season. Quickly followed by abuse and rage against the Turkish referee who sent off Nani and reduced United to 10 men.
Note that, a Turkish soccer referee. But United were playing with a man short right from the kick off.
That’s because they only had 11 men, not the usual 12 they are accustomed to.
The 12th man is the English referee. Time and again in soccer’s Premier League big decisions go United’s way. This season took off for them when, in a game against Chelsea, referee Mark Clattenburg gave United a penalty that never was. Then sent off Chelsea striker Torres, a decision even Clattenburg later said he regretted.
On occasions like that Ferguson usually delivers his little lecture along the lines of, over a soccer season the decisions, good and bad, equal out.
But when a decision goes against United the air goes blue and Ferguson abuses the soccer referee or linesman who has dared to go against him. His abuse is so vitriolic the referee’s federation make sure the official does not get another United game for a long time.
These are the bullying tactics practised by Ferguson over many years. They have worked well for him.
His tactics don’t work in Europe where he can’t intimidate soccer referees. Last night’s decision to send off Nani was 50/50. It was either a Yellow card or a Red. An English referee would have made it Yellow, a caution not a sending off.
The Turkish referee, Cuneyt Cakir, bravely and legitimately made it a sending off offence. Former United captain and soccer pundit Roy Keane agreed with him.
In the media there is much groaning about the injustice of the sending off. On the contrary and not before time – justice has been done.
United did not play with their usual 12 men. Going down to 10, was justice.