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Fantasy Preview: Week 13

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By ESPN Staff
Nov 26, 2007

Man Utd boss Ferguson charged after ref rant

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson maintains he feels 'aggrieved' at the performance of referee Mark Clattenburg at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

As expected, Ferguson has been charged by the Football Association with 'using abusive and insulting words towards an official' following his half-time altercation with Clattenburg, which resulted in his dismissal to the stands for the second-half of Manchester United's 1-0 defeat.

Ferguson was upset that Clattenburg failed to protect his players against what he claimed were 'over-aggressive' tactics from Gary Megson's side, with Kevin Davies in particular irritating the Scot by meting out some rough treatment on full-back Patrice Evra.

The French defender felt one first-half tackle from Davies should have resulted in Clattenburg red-carding the striker and Ferguson waited for the official at half-time to 'tell him exactly what I thought'.

'Some referees don't like the truth,' added Ferguson after the game.

The Scot must have known the FA disciplinary chiefs were likely to take action once they examined Clattenburg's version of events and he now has until December 11 to respond.

However, while his assessment of the situation was more measured this afternoon, Ferguson was still clearly annoyed.

'You can expect a team in Bolton's position to play that way,' he said.

'You expect a team near the bottom to battle, scrap and fight.

'Obviously they do not have the quality of opponents like ourselves. That is why they we are in different positions in the league.

'But the key thing is how the referee controls it. He is the arbiter in terms of the application of the rules of football. That is where we feel a bit aggrieved.'

Ironically, earlier this month, Ferguson claimed Clattenburg was one of the Premier League's best referees, although he has not brought them much luck this season, taking charge of the defeats at Manchester City and Bolton.

Although Ferguson has a notoriously short fuse, he rarely falls foul of referees in such a manner.

He was hit with a two-match touchline ban and a £10,000 fine in 2003 when he launched a stinging attack on Jeff Winter, who was acting as fourth official during United's encounter with Newcastle at St James' Park.

Although he could be punished in a similar manner again, touchline bans have been rare in recent times, so a financial penalty is more likely if the case against him is proved.