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Mar 16, 2009

Sir Alex boycotts TV interviews in kick-off protest

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly refused to give television interviews to Sky Sports before or after Saturday's crushing 4-1 defeat to Liverpool in protest at the kick-off time.

Liverpool had an extra day to prepare for the crucial match at Old Trafford, which kicked off at 12.45pm on Saturday, having played Real Madrid on Tuesday evening. But United did not play Inter Milan in their Champions League tie until Wednesday evening, meaning Rafa Benitez's side were presented with extra recovery time.

The defeat was United's heaviest on home soil since Queens Park Rangers handed out a 4-1 thrashing on New Year's Day in 1992.

Sir Alex Ferguson is no stranger to boycotting television station, having not spoken to the BBC since 2004 following a documentary which investigated his son Jason's business dealings as a football agent.

The match was always likely to have a lunchtime kick-off due to the intense rivalry of the two teams involved, though it is thought Sir Alex wanted the game to be played on Sunday to give them an extra 24 hours recovery time.

In 2006-07, the match was played on a Sunday following a round of Champions League games. On that occasion United had played FC Copenhagen on the Tuesday with Liverpool playing Bordeaux on the Wednesday.

When Ferguson did speak, he remarkably claimed United were the better side.

"It is a hard one to take because I felt we were the better team," he said. "That is not reflected in the scoreline and quite rightly, when you win 4-1 you get all the plaudits. I can't deny that."

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