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Efter: Birmingham – United

United fick bara en poäng på St Andrews efter att en horribel domarinsats godkände Birminghams kvitteringsmål. Eftersnacket kom förstås till stor del att handla om just kvitteringsmålet.

Sir Alex Ferguson fokuserade på Birminghams kvittering som han menade föregicks av både fult spel och handboll:

”It was handball and a foul on the centre-half, he went right through him. If the referee can’t see that, what chance have you got? At this level, in a game of this importance, you expect to be given a referee that can see that.”

Annars tycker Ferguson att United spelade bra i andra halvlek, som följdes av en icke-existerande första, och förtjänade att vinna matchen. Han pekade också på att det är svårt att möta Birmingham på bortaplan och framhöll Uniteds korta vila inför matchen. Vidare menar han att United har en utmärkt chans att vinna ligan, men att det gäller för fyra-fem lag till:

”We outplayed them in the second half and we didn’t deserve [the equaliser]. But football is a funny game and this is a difficult place to come to. But I think we deserved to win. We were the better team. We maybe should have finished them off after we went 1-0 up. The number of times we counter-attacked against them, we just needed to take more care with our final pass or the finishing shot. It was just one of these days, it’s unfortunate.

”I’ve got no complaints about my team. They fought hard, worked hard and only had two days’ rest [since the Sunderland game], and they ran their socks off. So it’s hard on them. The first half was a non-event. The ball was in the air a lot and that’s how Birmingham set their stall out. It’s a difficult place to come to. They got stuck right into us. They’re at the bottom of the league so you expect that. It’s a tough place to come to. It’s a tight ground, a lively pitch. You see the result they’ve had over the years. They make it difficult for you.

”We’ve a chance [of winning the title]. At this moment, there are five or six teams contesting that area. I always say if you’re in the front position in the New Year then at Manchester United you have a big chance.”

Birminghams manager Alex McLeish håller inte med Ferguson om att kvitteringen borde ha underkänts. Han menar att handbollen på Zigic var oavsiktlig och väljer helt sonika att ignorera den uppenbara knuffen på Ferdinand. Annars tycker han att Birmingham belönades för sitt slit under matchen:

”It does look as if it came off Zigic’s arm, but I don’t think he plays it deliberately off his arm. It would have been harsh if he had been penalized for deliberate handball. I feel that we got our reward for perseverance, good concentration, tactical awareness. The players adhered to everything we asked them to do. United had a lot of possession but most of it was deep on the pitch which suited us. United cut us open at the start of the second half but we fought back well and got our reward. We are not at a safe distance away from the bottom of the table at present but these sort of points could be crucial, bonus points really.”

Michael Carrick var förstås besviken på det otillåtna sätt som Birmingham fick kvittera på. Han väljer dock samtidigt att fokusera på det större perspektivet där United trots allt har en bra position:

”It’s easy to get carried away with that result and we were certainly down when we came off the pitch. Late goals are always hard to take but given how it happened we feel hard done by. There was a push in the back and then obviously the handball. But it’s done now, so we have to dust ourselves down and move on. We’re still in a good position when you look at the bigger picture. We haven’t lost, we’re in good form, we played well at times tonight, controlling the game, and so we go into the next game looking to keep the momentum up.”

Carrick passade också på att berömma Dimitar Berbatov:

”It was a good move and a terrific finish by Berba. His confidence in front of goal is very high at the moment and hopefully that continues for a long time. His goal put us in a great position but if we had done better with a couple more opportunities on the counter-attack then we would have been a lot happier.”

Den mest korkade och ologiska kommentaren efter matchen stod Daily Telegraphs Henry Winter för då han sa att Bowyer förtjänade sin kvittering då han inte klagade när han blev tacklad av Giggs:

”Zigic handball but Bowyer deserved some reward for work-rate, for not complaining about Giggs’ challenge.”

Darren Fletcher var tillbaka i spel efter att ha missat matchen mot Sunderland p.g.a. sjukdom. Nani kunde dock inte delta men ska förhoppningsvis kunna spela på nyårsdagen (mot West Brom borta). Ryktet säger också att Chris Smalling, John O’Shea och Wes Brown samtliga missade matchen p.g.a. lättare skavanker. Vi avvaktar ytterligare information.

Dimitar Berbatov gjorde sitt 15:e mål för säsongen. Därmed har han, med bara halva säsongen spelad, redan slagit personligt rekord i Unitedtröjan.

Arena: St Andrew’s (Birmingham) | Publik: 28 242 | Domare: Lee Mason
Van der Sar
Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra
Gibson (Hernandez 90), Carrick, Anderson (Fletcher 73)
Giggs, Berbatov, Rooney
Avbytare: Kuszczak, Evans, Neville, Obertan, Macheda
Varningar: Anderson, Vidic, Giggs
Birmingham: Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson (Hleb 70), Gardner, Bowyer, Ferguson, Beausejour (Zigic 82), Jerome (Philips 85)
Avbytare: Taylor, Derbyshire, Fahey, Jiranek
Varningar: Gardner, Bowyer, Dann

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