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Neville - Fergie won't be happy

Image: Halsey: sent off Shelvey in the first half

Gary Neville felt Manchester United were poor at Liverpool and benefitted from some kind refereeing decisions in their victory.

Neville said United could have conceded penalty and had man sent off

Gary Neville says Sir Alex Ferguson will not be happy after Manchester United laboured to victory over 10-man Liverpool. The home side played more than half the match with 10 men after Jonjo Shelvey was dismissed after 39 minutes, but claimed a surprise lead when Steven Gerrard struck shortly after the break. A fine goal from Rafael and a Robin van Persie penalty saw the visitors turn the game around, but Sky Sports expert Neville felt his former team were below par for long periods of the match. Read our match report "I thought it was a poor performance," he told Ford Super Sunday. "If ever there was a reminder of how difficult it is to play at Anfield it was today. They never got going in the first 50 minutes until Liverpool scored and it really wasn't good enough at all. "Sir Alex Ferguson would have been absolutely livid, screaming the paint off the walls at half-time, I'm convinced of that. He made the change and Paul Scholes came on and even against 10 men and with Paul Scholes on the pitch they couldn't get control of the game. "Even in the second half, Liverpool dominated possession which was incredible really. You never would have expected that. "It's never easy to go to Anfield and today was a huge reminder of that."


Both sides united to pay tribute to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster before kick-off, but tensions boiled over on the pitch when Shelvey was shown a red card for a high tackle on Jonny Evans shortly before the break. Neville said it was sad to see a man sent off on such an emotional afternoon and argued that the referee could have been more lenient to the Liverpool midfielder because Evans had also made a dangerous attempt to win the ball. "I didn't want a man to be sent off here today," he said. "I think Shelvey went in over the top with his right foot and Jonny Evans came in and I don't think he was in control of the tackle. "Personally, I think if he'd given both a yellow I don't think he'd have been out of order, although Shelvey went over the top and that's what Mark Halsey will have seen. I don't think Mark Halsey wanted to send him off, you could see his facials afterwards. "But Jonny Evans came in with both studs showing and I'm not convinced that both players didn't come in out of control. "That's where, as a referee, he might have said: 'Shelvey is out of control and it's a red. Evans is out of control and it's probably a red. I could give both a yellow or I could give one a yellow.'"
The home fans were also aggrieved when Halsey failed to award a penalty after Luis Suarez went down under an Evans challenge, but did point to the spot when Antonio Valencia was felled by Glen Johnson. Neville said both incidents should have resulted in penalty awards, but says Suarez didn't help his case by falling theatrically to the ground. "The problem is Suarez threw his head back and he didn't need to do that," he added. "The referee thinks it's an unnatural movement and it's too much. That's his problem. I think it was a penalty. "United's one is a penalty for me. The mistake Liverpool made is that Agger and Johnson should have taken Valencia out [on the half-way line]. That might sound a little bit cynical, but that's football unfortunately. "Then Glen Johnson tackled from the wrong side. He's clipped his heel, there's a push in the back and Mark Halsey had no option other than to give a penalty."

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