Premier League

December 26, 2012

Full-time

Man Utd

4 - 3

Newcastle

Premier League

15:00 +00:00, December 26, 2012

Old Trafford, England

Fergie defends ref criticism

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.

"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.

There was further controversy in stoppage time too, when Antonio Valencia slid in on Vernon Anita, leaving the Newcastle man needing to be stretchered off with an injured ankle.

"I was a bit upset with that tackle," said Pardew. "I have seen it again and I don't think it was malicious but Valencia has mistimed it badly and unfortunately it might cost us a player.

"I am not sure what is wrong. It is too early to say.It is a bang on the ankle. We will have to see whether he will make Arsenal, which would be a loss to us."

Pardew also confirmed midfielder Jonas Guttierez faces a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury after missing today's game.

"He will be missing the next two or three games,'' he said. "Guttierez will have an injection in his knee tomorrow. It is not clearing upand he is not 100%."

"I wish it was the last game of the season," Ferguson added. "It tells you about the courage of our team though.

"We had a lot of bad decisions against us in the first-half. That could have demoralised the team. But they didn't give in. That is the great quality they have. We were down three times and came back three times, then we scored the winner.

"It is a really significant result for us. It puts us in a good position. But as I always say about December, it is a month that tells you everything.

Hopefully when we come to January 1, after that game at Wigan, we are still top of the league."

Scoring Summary

Manchester United Newcastle United
Jonathan Evans (25')James Perch (4')
Patrice Evra (58')Jonathan Evans (og 28')
Robin Van Persie (71')Papiss Demba Cisse (68')
Javier Hernández (90')