Sir Alex Ferguson accuses FA of vendetta against Manchester United

24 July 2011 10:16
Ready for another battle: Sir Alex Ferguson laps up the sun in Chicago

Sir Alex Ferguson has prefaced the new football season by turning the spotlight on the Football Association, claiming there is 'an unfair focus on Manchester United on disciplinary issues'.

The United manager cited 'possible resentment about the club because of our success since the Premier League began'.

'I think that has something to do with it really,' said Ferguson.

'It will always be there and I think we know that. I don't really know whether it's about me or the club. That's a difficult one. They have certainly always found a way to treat us differently.

'It has been happening for a while now and they always seem to find a way to do us when, with others, it's seemingly forgotten.'

Ferguson was banned for five matches and fined ?30,000 last season for criticising referee Martin Atkinson after United's defeat at Chelsea, the latest in a long list of battles he has had with the FA.

He was also furious when Wayne Rooney was banned for two games for his outburst into a television camera during victory at West Ham, leading to the manager accusing the FA of victimising United.

'Personally, I felt hard-done-by last season but it's always difficult and I'm not wanting to get involved with it, to be honest,' said Ferguson.

'It doesn't bother me one bit. I defend my club and that's my job. Part of the problem is that when I make comments, the media are on to the FA right away.

Made an example of: Ferguson said Wayne Rooney was punished too severely for his foul-mouthed rant at a TV camera in United's win at Upton Park

VICTIMS OR VILLAINS? Six flashpoints last season that saw Sir Alex Ferguson clash with the FA

1. Said Liverpool were 'lucky' after Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano escaped over incidents similar to one which saw Rio Ferdinand banned for violent conduct.

2. Described FA as 'dysfunctional' for their failure to take action against Gerrard for catching Portsmouth's Michael Brown with an elbow.

3. The 2-1 defeat at Chelsea last March had Ferguson complaining: 'We've had terrible decisions against us. You've got to be careful you don't have paranoia.'

4. Wayne Rooney was banned for two games for swearing into a TV camera, prompting Ferguson to claim the FA had gone out of their way to make an example of them.

5. Claimed there was a 'refereeing conspiracy' after United were denied a penalty at Arsenal.

6. Accused the FA of being too hard at hearings. 'There is a scenario for every other club and another for us.'

'Then they feel forced to do something and they are afraid of what might happen if they don't. There is no consistency in the disciplinary situation. We all know that.'

The 69-year-old Glaswegian is brimming with as much anticipation about the start of his 25th season in charge as he did for his first.

His team continued their preparation with a 3-1 win over MLS side Chicago Fire in the famous Soldier Field Stadium on Saturday night.

Ferguson's enthusiasm is certainly fired as he eagerly prepares to take on the challengers who threaten United's attempt to win their 20th league championship.

And he was happy to ponder over which team might finish second to his club in the Premier League.

'That's a hard one,' he smiled. 'There's a big expectation on Manchester City and Liverpool. There's a big expectation at City, obviously, but the bigger expectation is on ourselves. Most clubs will be expecting us to do something and there will be more pressure on us than the rest.

'We've faced that before and it shouldn't be a problem, but we've lost three players with great experience - Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Edwin van der Sar - so that is where the expectation may bother us a wee bit this season.

'Scholes will be a big loss, but I'm hopeful that David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard will solve the goalkeeping problem because Edwin was such a great professional, he had great experience and was great in the dressing room. It's hard to replace that.'

Ferguson acknowledged United cannot afford to allow Chelsea to get off to the flying start they did last season when they won their first five games, scoring 21 goals.

'Chelsea have done that a few times,' he said. 'The two times they won it under Mourinho in a row they were 10 points ahead of us within six weeks and we couldn't catch them.

Lucky boy: Gerrard got away lightly after elbowing Brown, according to Ferguson

'After that we made good starts and changed our training to make sure we started more quickly, and that made the difference. Last year we fell behind because we weren't 100 per cent in the opening matches.

'We had some stupid results at Everton and Fulham, dropping four points. We had nine draws away from home, which was unusual for us. Chelsea gave us a chance because they hit a bad spell and we took advantage. We did well in that period, got in front and held on.

'Chelsea will still be there. They have the most experienced squad in the league with the likes of Terry, Lampard and Cech. Drogba and Anelka have experience, too, so they will be there. You can't see them being out of the top four, so it is a pretty difficult league now. They are approaching an evolutionary stage and the new manager hasn't signed anyone yet, so that will be a bit of a concern for Chelsea fans.

'There are probably five clubs in the title race. Spurs did fantastically well last season, but the European run probably cost them a place in the top four when they got a few injuries. That, and their lack of experience of competing in the Champions League and Premier League, cost them.

'They have a bit of work to do to get back to that level because it doesn't look as though they are going to sign any players.

'But the rest? Liverpool have bought a lot of players so there will be expectation the rest. Arsenal have to replace Nasri and Fabregas because it looks certain that they are going to move.'

Ferguson believes Carlos Tevez will not move from the Etihad Stadium.

Conspiracy theory: Sir Alex claimedreferees were united against his side after Michael Owen was refused a penalty at Arsenal

'I think it's a certainty he will start the season at City because you look around and wonder who is going to buy him,' he said. 'I'm not sure Inter Milan would pay ?45million, especially after he said he wants to go back to Argentina to see his kids.

'He told us at the time of our negotiations that he was only going to play for four more years so, if we had signed him on a five-year contract knowing that he was going to quit in four years, there is no resale value for us.

Staying put: Fergie says Carlos Tevez is a certainty to remain at City

'He's an impact player, he's good at times when you need someone to make an impact. He isn't always consistent in a game but he has periods of games when he does really well in bursts.'

Ferguson has been rotating his players on an exhaustive tour which has already taken in trans-American journeys from Boston to Seattle and Chicago, to be followed by games in New York and against Barcelona in Washington this week.

Lessons learned: Fulham's Brede Hangeland scores against United to clinch a draw at Craven Cottage last season

But he insisted he would heed the lesson of the build-up to last season when he felt that certain players lacked match fitness because they had not played enough.

'We made a mistake last year at the start. When we got to the Fulham game we weren't really 100 per cent,' he said.

'We were well short in the opening games because we gave some of the players too many half games in the pre-season.

'Now we will give the players a full 90 minutes in the game against the Red Bulls in New York and against Barcelona.

'We have a big squad so it's difficult to give some players the required number of minutes.

'We are well off for strikers. Federico Macheda is all right and Mame Diouf has his certain qualities.'

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Source: Daily_Mail