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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 21, 2007

Lille boss Puel furious with Ferguson's comments

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been accused of trying his 'usual tricks' to put pressure on Lille during last night's controversial Champions League clash.

The French club's manager, Claude Puel, reacted angrily after Ferguson branded their response to Ryan Giggs' winning goal 'a disgrace'.

Giggs' goal, a quickly-taken free-kick in the 83rd minute while home goalkeeper Tony Sylva was lining up a wall, came soon after Lille's Peter Odemwingie had a goal ruled out for a push on United defender Nemanja Vidic.

Lille's players were so incensed the goal was allowed to stand that they kicked the ball out of play from the restart and then headed to the touchline on the orders of their goalkeeping coach Jean Noel Duse.

Ferguson was furious with their behaviour, but Puel is adamant that he was merely engaging in mind-games of his own.

'It is Sir Alex Ferguson's usual trick, and it is his way of putting the pressure on,' said the former Monaco coach.

'Sir Alex Ferguson can think what he wants. I don't understand how this man allows himself to have such thoughts. He could have avoided (saying) them.

'My players simply wanted to make a complaint on a fact of the game. It wasn't laying it on thick. They didn't want to leave the pitch.'

Puel added: 'In France, you must express a complaint after the first stoppage in play which follows the decision. It is for that reason we stopped the game. In the Champions League, it is different. You can intervene after the match.

'Quite simply, two refereeing decisions went against us in a very good match between two excellent teams. I am sorry for that.'

Lille president Michel Seydoux believes Giggs' matchwinner would not have been allowed to stand if United had conceded it.

And he claims he will be speaking to newly elected UEFA supremo Michel Platini about the incident.

'I will call Michel Platini, who says he defends the beautiful game and the little teams,' he said. 'We have developed a beautiful game and we are a little team.'

Puel was delighted with his team's efforts throughout the game, despite being hit by the sucker punch at the end.

Lille were particularly strong in the second half and were arguably on top before Giggs' disputed winner.

'I don't think the players deserved this finish,' he added. 'I thought we played very well, with great quality.

'Manchester United were dangerous on the counter-attack. But I am very proud of my players, because they showed that they aren't here by chance. We are here as competitors.'

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