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Oct 21, 2009

Ferguson storms out after being quizzed on FA charge

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has given short shrift to questioning about the FA charge he faces for criticising referee Alan Wiley's fitness. Tuesday's obligatory UEFA Champions League press conference was Ferguson's first appearance before the media since being charged with improper conduct in the light of comments after a 2-2 draw at Sunderland on October 3.

But the 67-year-old was in no mood to answer questions on the subject and cut the conference short when it was raised.

"Silly question gets no answer," he said. "I'm not answering it."

Another reporter replied that "It's not a silly question", Ferguson then got up and left the room, saying only "Good night" as he stormed out.

Prior to that, Ferguson had said that he thinks CSKA Moscow's artificial pitch will help his team's playing style. United face CSKA in their Champions League Group B clash on Wednesday at the Luzhniki stadium where they memorably beat Chelsea on penalties to win the 2008 tournament.

"I watched CSKA's previous Champions League game and I didn't see any issue with it (the pitch) at all," Ferguson told a news conference on Tuesday. "It is a passing surface and we have good passers in our side. When (English league sides) Luton and QPR had them all those years ago we always played well on them.

"We had a great record at those artificial pitches and that was when the artificial pitches weren't as good. The one in Moscow has a far better covering on it.

Despite his confidence, Ferguson, who will be without the injured Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra, Park Ji-sung and Darren Fletcher, warned about the threat of the 2005 UEFA Cup winners. CSKA are third in Group B after following up their opening defeat at VfL Wolfsburg with victory at home to Besiktas.

"The Champions League for a few years now has had a tremendous amount of quality in it," Ferguson said. "I think the Russian teams in particular have improved a lot in the last few years thanks to big investment. There are a lot of Brazilian players in Russia now. So you can expect a difficult game there and it's a surface which we're not used to playing on."

Ferguson is hoping his United side, who won their opening two matches away to Besiktas and at home to VfL Wolfsburg, can book their place in the knockout stages. "We're in a strong position ourselves after winning our opening two games and, if we can navigate the back-to-back games against CSKA, we're through, I think," he said.

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