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Sep 22, 2008

United escape further punishment after fine

Manchester United will face no further action over their conduct at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

After picking up seven yellow cards during the draw with Chelsea, Sir Alex Ferguson's men already knew they would receive an automatic £25,000 fine from the FA.

However, there was a fear referee Mike Riley might suggest further incidents needed looking at, particularly Rio Ferdinand's challenge on Didier Drogba at the end of the game and the aggressive attitude of some Red Devils players after the final whistle.

Those worries have now been allayed, with Riley confirming in his match report that he was happy with his handling of various incidents, meaning the Red Devils will avoid further scrutiny.

''It was a competitive game but I did not think there was one bad tackle in it,'' said Ferguson.

''The game is being screened worldwide. Everyone is watching it and something like that happens.

''People are saying what is going on here but it is difficult to say anything about the referee.

''I do not want to get involved.''

Ferguson was clearly unhappy with Mike Riley's performance, as were a number of his senior players.

And United's afternoon did not get much less stormy after they had left Stamford Bridge as their team coach was attacked on the short trip to Euston station.

A bottle was hurled from the pavement, cracking the windscreen, although no-one was injured, with United officials eager to play down the incident afterwards.

''Yes. There was an incident but the matter is now in the hands of the police,'' said a club spokesman.

At least Riley received the backing of Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who noted the FA's recent 'Respect' initiative aimed at greater co-operation between players and officials.

''I am not surprised,'' said Scolari. ''That is what the referee is there for.

''If players do not respect him, it should be yellow and red cards. It doesn't matter who you are - Liverpool or Manchester United, whoever.''

However, the Chelsea coach said he was puzzled at the bizarre ending, with Riley blowing for time as Drogba was about to receive treatment.

''It was strange that he finished the game at that time but we need to accept his decision.''

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