Sir Alex Ferguson's new feud with referee Mike Dean

17 January 2011 10:18
Sir Alex Ferguson's long-running feud with referee Mike Dean erupted again on Sunday following Rafael Da Silva's dismissal during Manchester United's goalless draw at White Hart Lane.

United returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League but had to play the last 16 minutes against Tottenham with 10 men after full back Rafael was given a second yellow card for tangling legs with Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Flashpoint: an angry Rafael confrontsMike Dean after his red card

'It's not worth discussing because everyone can see that,' said Ferguson. 'It's out of my bounds now. Thank God.'

Ferguson's history with Dean includes being handed a two-match touchline ban and a £10,000 fine after confronting the referee at the end of the victory against Hull in 2008.

He was also infuriated by Dean last season after Chelsea's victory at Old Trafford included a disputed goal by Didier Drogba, admitting afterwards 'when I saw Mike Dean I did worry'.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp described Sunday's sending off as harsh, adding: 'It was like Mary Decker and Zola Budd.

Making his point: Ferguson was disappointed with Rafael's dismissal

'He was just running and clipped his heels trying to get out of the way. He hasn't tripped him. What can you do about that? His foot has caught the boy's leg and that's it.'

Rafael could now be in trouble with the Football Association if Dean reports the Brazilian's language as he left the pitch, or his kick at a television microphone before heading down the tunnel.

Spurs were unable to take advantage of Rafael's departure to inflict a first defeat of the season on United, but Redknapp believes it would be a 'miracle' for them to go through the season unbeaten.

He added: 'I personally can't see it. I think it would be a miracle if Alex got them through the season unbeaten.

'I am not knocking them. They are top of the league and above where we are and want to be. But you can't be as good a team as you were a year or two ago when you haven't got (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Carlos) Tevez.' 

Redknapp also insisted his own teamare still in the title race despite being eight points behind United,who have two games in hand on second-placed Manchester City.

Fergusonagreed with Redknapp, adding: 'I think there are five teams allcontesting it. All have chances and it makes it interesting forneutrals. We have to win the two games in hand. We have to go toChelsea and that will be a massive game and we have to go to Blackpoolwho are in great form at the moment.'

Stalemate: despite Crouch's best efforts, United left White Hart Lane with their unbeaten record intact

Ferguson paid tribute to his defenders: 'They were particularly good,' he said. 'It's about keeping your nerve and, defensively, we kept our nerve.

'We defended very well, they never gave us any trouble with their attacking. The kind of pressure we were under were just long balls into the box really. With (Rio) Ferdinand and (Nemanja) Vidic as your centre-backs you know you can cope with that. They were fantastic.

'The whole back four did really, really well. In the context of Tottenham's home record this season and the performances they have given, we have got to take it as a good point for us.'

Ferguson insists the title race is tight and any one from five could still have a chance of lifting the trophy in May.

He said: 'I think there are five teams all contesting it, all have chances and it makes it interesting for neutrals. We've come through a difficult away game, our record here is great of course, but it doesn't apply because we still have to get a result. I think the result was fair.

'We didn't bother them too much, we had one or two good opportunities at times when we got to the last third of the field but we just didn't quite have the cutting edge.

'In the second half Anderson attacked the back four four times and maybe his selection of pass or a shot on goal would have been better.'

Good to be Beck: Both sides could have done withthe passing of David Beckham, who watched in the crowd

The match was Ryan Giggs' 600th leagueappearance for United and Ferguson said of the veteran Welshman: 'He'san incredible human being and an example to anyone that wants to usehim as a role model.'

Meanwhile, Redknapp admitted there is uncertainty over the deal to sign Steven Pienaar, who has failed to agree personal terms with Chelsea.

He said: 'I can't get to the bottom of this whole deal. I think I do know but I'll end up in big trouble.

'It's very strange to me how they have suddenly offered £3million. 'The manager at Chelsea, who is a lovely guy and honest as the day's long, comes on television and he denies it. I don't think he is a liar.'

A group of Spurs fans held a protest outside the ground before the game against plans by the club to move to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford after the 2012 games. A flare was lit during the protest.

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Source: Daily_Mail