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Ferguson offers explanation for Wiley rant

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that he criticised Alan Wiley's fitness because he was so disappointed with the performance of his side during their draw against Sunderland.

•  Refs' chief unhappy with "half-hearted" Ferguson

Manchester United were way below their best in the Old Trafford clash earlier this month and needed a late Anton Ferdinand own goal to salvage a 2-2 draw. The manager deflected the blame away from his players after the match and instead vented his fury at Wiley, describing the referee as 'unfit'.

Ferguson, who is set to discover on Monday whether he will face a charge from the Football Association, has apologised to Wiley twice, but has now offered up an explanation for his misplaced anger.

"We certainly weren't firing on all cylinders in that game," he admitted. "Our passing was woeful and quite out of character which is perhaps why my feelings afterwards got the better of me with regard to the referee.

"That's why I felt later that it was fair to apologise. I hope he has accepted my apology because I have always respected Alan Wiley, who is a good referee, and my remarks were not intended to be a slur on his integrity.

"I hope that I shall have the opportunity to speak to him personally."

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