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Apr 10, 2010

Sir Alex Ferguson attacks "disgusting" English press

Sir Alex Ferguson has stood by his "typical Germans" comment and blamed the "disgusting" English press for latching onto his controversial quotes instead of praising his Manchester United team.

Ferguson is sticking by his belief that the Bayern Munich players got Rafael sent off at Old Trafford on Wednesday by surrounding the referee, and the manager insists up to six players should have instead been booked themselves for waving invisible cards.

Ferguson was irritated that his blunt comments about Bayern's conduct being "typically German'' immediately after United's 3-2 win in midweek were more widely reported than United's "absolutely magnificent" performance, which wasn't enough to save them from a quarter-finals exit from the Champions League.

The United boss felt his players deserved an immense amount of praise for their efforts, establishing a three-goal lead during the first half, then in trying to withstand a fierce Bayern bombardment after Rafael had received his marching orders. Instead, the attention fell on Ferguson's inflammatory comments, which will not bring action from UEFA.

Ferguson's relationship with the media has never been particularly close, and quizzed about the reporting of his post-match comments, the Scot went on the offensive.

"It is hard to understand the press,'' he said. "Someone told me that coming back from the Champions League final in Rome last year they were all delighted on the press bus that we lost. They were absolutely pleased that we lost; the English press.

"The person who told me was disgusted. That is a fact. He had no reason to lie to me. Our performance on Wednesday was fantastic. At 3-0 it could have been 5-0. We were magnificent. Absolutely magnificent. But that gets lost just because people want a headline out of what I said about the Germans. That is disgusting because the players deserved some praise.''

Ferguson felt he was not helped by having to do a TV interview straight after the game, when he blurted out his comment. By the time he sat down for his main post-match analysis, some 45 minutes later, he had calmed down slightly, even if the sentiment remained ahead of Sunday's now must-win Premier League encounter with Blackburn.

"The Germans let themselves down in the way they behaved in getting the boy sent off,'' he said. "If they don't recognise that there is nothing I can do about it. But it was totally unfair. They bullied the referee into it. He is a young referee and he succumbed to that pressure because he wasn't going to send the boy off.''

When informed of Ferguson's comments on Wednesday, Bayern coach Louis van Gaal challenged the British version of fair play, and insisted his team had done no wrong. Ferguson maintains they did, particularly Franck Ribery, the player who was yanked back by Rafael to bring the fateful second yellow card.

"I know Van Gaal spoke about the fairness of English football and he was right,'' said Ferguson. "It (the English league) is one of the fairest in the world. But we weren't talking about English fairness. He (Rafael) has barely touched him. Ribery's done more to him. The issue was how the Germans reacted. They knew the boy was on a yellow card. They surrounded the referee and they are waving their hands with imaginary cards.

"There was an edict to referees was that anyone showing an imaginary card should be booked. Well, there were six that should have been booked if you go along those lines.''

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