Angry Ferguson hits out at referee Webb

November 3, 2007

Sir Alex Ferguson accused referee Howard Webb of favouring Arsenal in Manchester United's 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium today.

'I think Howard Webb has a great chance to be the top referee but today was a big game for him and, at times, he favoured Arsenal,' Ferguson told MUTV.

'Their second goal came from him not giving a free-kick for a foul on Louis Saha on the far side. It should have been a foul for us.'

Ferguson believes it can be difficult for referees not to be influenced by hostile home crowds.

'It is very difficult for the referee,' he said. 'On our bench, we were getting terrible abuse from people two or three feet away from us.

'There is a lack of security here. It is absolutely disgraceful the abuse you and your staff take. All sorts of things are been shouted and screamed at you and there is an absolute danger here.'

Ferguson was frustrated United had not been able to hang on for a win that would have taken them to the top of the Barclays Premier League.

He said: 'I think we have thrown it away. At 2-1 you think you've won the game and for them to get a second goal when they did - for us to give it way in injury-time - it is very hard to take I can tell you. It is a fact that they got out of jail.

'We spoke about it at half-time, the importance of not letting them back in and we started the second half well and then we lose a goal from having our own throw in near their corner flag. It's amazing. It's criminal.

'After their equaliser, Arsenal got at us for five or 10 minutes but then it seemed to be heading for a draw.

'I don't settle for a point at any time. We send a team out with ability to win matches and we we try to win matches.

'We settled quite well after their equaliser and Wayne Rooney had a marvellous chance. Some of our attacking play was great, some of our football was threatening.

'In a game of that magnitude, there was going to be chances. We had ours and they had theirs.'

Ferguson felt Arsenal, who have reached the top of the table by playing attractive football, had resorted to direct tactics to force their way back into the game.

He said: 'Arsenal are good football team and they had plenty of possession but they didn't actually make anything of their chances.

'They got their second goal from pumping the ball into the box. It got a bit of a deflection when they pumped the ball into the box in injury-time and ended up at the back post (with Gallas). I think it (Gallas' volley) was over the line. Edwin (van der Sar) thought it was over the line.

'We produced some good football for our goals but their goals were a bit scrappy. It's unlike Arsenal. They normally score goals from good passing movements. Today they were slashing the ball in the box and getting goals from it.'

Meanwhile, Arsenal goal hero William Gallas claimed his team-mates were prepared to 'die' on the field to secure a result against Manchester United.

Gallas, who had earlier scored an own goal, grabbed an injury-time equaliser as the leaders denied United top spot in the Barclays Premier League at the Emirates Stadium.

Cristiano Ronaldo looked to have put United on course for victory after Cesc Fabregas had scored the Gunners' first equaliser.

Gallas hailed his side's teamwork and told Sky Sports: 'We had to fight. We said if we had to die we would die together on that field.

'In the first half we tried to play football but it was not really easy.

'We played very tight. It was difficult for us to find good space.

'We conceded a goal - maybe I was a little too late but that is football.

'In the second half when we came back on the pitch we said we had to play better.'

Arsenal, with a game in hand, remain unbeaten and top of the table from United only on goals scored.

Gallas added: 'I think we had to stay top of the table, we have to put pressure on other teams - other teams can go back like Chelsea or another team.

'We have to stay at the top to put pressure on Manchester United and maybe they can make the mistake.'