Fergie questions ref display
Sir Alex Ferguson has questioned referee Andre Marriner's experience after Man Utd's defeat at Liverpool.
Last Updated: 26/10/09 6:20am
Sir Alex Ferguson has questioned whether Andre Marriner had enough experience to referee Manchester United's defeat at Liverpool on Sunday.
The Red Devils boss saw his side lose 2-0 at Anfield as Fernando Torres and David Ngog struck in the second half to end the home team's run of four successive defeats.
Ferguson was disappointed by United's performance, but was incensed by the decision-making of Marriner, who sent off Nemanja Vidic in the closing minutes for a second booking.
Liverpool's Javier Mascherano also saw red before the final whistle after collecting two cautions, but Ferguson believed his side suffered the injustices at the hands of a 38-year-old match official.
The Scot, who earlier in the week had highlighted the pressure match officials face in Liverpool versus United clashes, told Sky Sports: "I'm disappointed by the performance, the first half in particular. It was a bad performance by us.
"We didn't handle the atmosphere of the game, I thought. We didn't handle the decisions against as well. We should have been better at that, we have got enough experience to do it.
"The second half we improved a good deal. But we lost out to one or two major decisions."
United were disappointed not to be awarded a penalty when Jamie Carragher crunched Michael Carrick, although replays suggested the Reds captain for the day, in the absence of the injured Steven Gerrard, made a slight connection with the ball.
The defending Premier League champions were also upset that the Liverpool centre-back was not shown a red card when he appeared to haul down friend and former team-mate Michael Owen, who was roundly booed when entering from the bench.
Ferguson has suggested that an electric atmosphere at a deafening Anfield may have influenced Marriner, especially when Vidic earned his first yellow card.
The United boss said: "I think they got a wee bit caught up in some of the atmosphere - the wounded animal aspect of it. The fans were fanatical and every decision they put the referee under pressure.
"For instance on Vidic, clearly it is a foul. But then he wins the second ball and gets booked for that. The crowd got him booked
Laws of the game
"The atmosphere is hard to handle for the referee. Whether he had enough experience, I don't know. He will certainly learn from it."
Ferguson added: "The most controversial decision was Carragher bringing down Michael Owen. He was clear through.
"The laws of the game were altered to prevent professional fouls of that nature and if Carragher goes off, he is their best player and their captain. It would have been a different game. They would have been under pressure.
"The referee was only four or five yards from it he cannot use a covering defender as an excuse. Michael was clean through. With Michael's pace he is going to get away from him."
Ferguson said regarding Carragher's challenge on Carrick: "He has gone right over the top of the ball. If it is outside of the box it is a free-kick and maybe a yellow card.
"But it was inside the box and the referee was only six yards from it. It was another bad decision."