Ferguson: Neville should have gone

02 January 2011 08:00

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Gary Neville should have been sent off during the first half of Manchester United's 2-1 win at West Brom.

Javier Hernandez's 75th-minute header proved enough to give United a narrow victory at the Hawthorns and keep them top of the Premier League, but the Baggies were seething at referee Chris Foy's failure to punish Neville's first-half lunge on Graham Dorrans with a penalty and a red card.

Neville certainly did not touch the ball as Dorrans, with only Tomasz Kuszczak left to beat, tumbled to the ground. And even Ferguson accepted Foy got it wrong, saying: "Gary was lucky to stay on. It was a penalty. At first I thought he had got a touch but when I saw it again, he was lucky."

As it turned out, West Brom got a penalty anyway after Rio Ferdinand had tripped Jerome Thomas in the second-half. Unfortunately for the hosts, Peter Odemwingie dragged it wide, which proved the catalyst for a late rally that secured United their win.

"If you miss a penalty playing at home, midway through the second-half, it is a bad blow," said Ferguson. "If they had scored, they would probably have won the game because they had the momentum. They would have got impetus from the crowd as well and we weren't playing as well as we can."

United's defiance was typified by Wayne Rooney, who had taken just three minutes to end his long wait for a goal in open play.

After stooping to nod home Patrice Evra's curling cross, Rooney carried the fight to West Brom on a day when so many of his team-mates underperformed.

Then, after the 25-year-old had hobbled off, seemingly out of the match for good after being caught by a nasty challenge from Chris Brunt, Rooney was quickly back on the field for the final frantic few minutes, hobbling and in pain, once it became apparent United had used all their substitutes.

"That's him," said Ferguson. "It looks as though he is out for a couple of weeks and he comes back on. That is the courage he showed. Overall, I thought that performance was world-class. He was absolutely magnificent and drove us the whole way.

"He is a bit unlucky not to score a couple of extra goals. But that one will give him unbelievable confidence. Hopefully he kicks on from there."

Source: PA