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Fergie: Clattenburg abuse undeserved

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has used his programme notes to again jump to the defence of referee Mark Clattenburg.

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The official has been accused of using "inappropriate" language relating to Chelsea's John Obi Mikel during Manchester United's win at Stamford Bridge last Sunday, leading to the Police and Football Association opening investigations into his conduct.

Clattenburg's decision to send off two Chelsea players and to allow United's Javier Hernandez striking the winning goal from an offside position meant that the game was a fiery affair, but Ferguson feels the scrutiny Clattenburg has come under following the accusations have been unfair, saying that "he didn't deserve" the treatment he has received.

Writing in his programme notes ahead of his side's game against Arsenal, Ferguson said: "Inevitably you find yourself challenging those 50-50 decisions that go against you.

"That's the human nature of a coach and you learn to come to terms with it so that most of the time you accept the difficulty of a referee's job with good grace and at the end of day you accept that refereeing is the most difficult job in sport and you respect the men who take it on.

"I certainly felt every sympathy for Mark Clattenburg at Chelsea last Sunday. He was pilloried and didn't deserve it. In my mind the officials made two mistakes, one that went against us and one that did us a huge favour, and I don't hold either error against them!"

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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