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Feb 9, 2013

Ferguson fury over Prem scheduling

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has launched a scathing attack on the Premier League, accusing them of putting his side at a disadvantage by not changing Sunday's match against Everton at Old Trafford.

• Ferguson fined by FA

United will travel to Spain on Wednesday to face Real Madrid in their Champions League round of 16 tie and Ferguson is furious that their European counterparts will have an extra day to prepare.

Real host Sevilla on Saturday, prompting Ferguson to call for the Everton clash to be brought forward a day, although his appeals were turned down by the Premier League due to TV commitments.

Ferguson claims United's match could have been switched with Saturday's fixture between Tottenham and Newcastle, which was originally an option if the European match was set for Tuesday, and believes English teams are often at a disadvantage in the Champions League.

"The Premier League agree the contract with TV and they are in control," he said. "But they are not giving our teams a chance to be successful in Europe. It is ridiculous to think we are playing on Sunday and Real Madrid have an extra day's rest.

"It is not fair. France play Friday nights. Why? Possibly we (England) get more money out of television I don't know. Other countries make sacrifices for their top teams in Europe. What can you do? Not turn up? I would like to do that by the way."

Ferguson was also infuriated at having to play Saturday matches after a Wednesday Champions League fixture, which is inevitable during the quarter and semi-final stages of the competition.

But United's predicament is far better than the situation Tottenham faced in April 2007 when they were forced to play against Chelsea on a Saturday after travelling to Sevilla for a Europa League match on the Thursday, leaving Ferguson bemused at why it has taken so long to find a solution.

"It is pointless complaining about these things all the time," he said. "You know full well after an away game in Europe you are not getting back until two or three in the morning and then are playing again on the Saturday.

"There was an even more ridiculous case than ours when Tottenham played on a Thursday night in the Europa League and then had to play on the Saturday against Chelsea. How many times have I complained about it? You've heard my complaints. Do they listen?"

Ferguson is likely to make a number of changes to his line-up against Everton in a bid to select the strongest possible squad against Real, with Wayne Rooney likely to sit in the stands at Old Trafford after playing a full 90 minutes in England's win over Brazil on Wednesday.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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