Alex Ferguson calls for clarity over red card offences

 

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson saw Manchester United get back to winning ways against Bolton on Saturday but was left baffled by the increasingly thorny issue of red cards in the Barclays Premier League.

Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany was sent off for a two-footed - but ultimately successful - tackle against United last week, but Liverpool's Glen Johnson saw a similar challenge against City defender Joleon Lescott go unpunished three days later.

Ferguson, who saw comeback king Paul Scholes open the scoring in a 3-0 victory, felt Zat Knight should have been dismissed for a tackle on Danny Welbeck which led to a penalty that Wayne Rooney missed.

He now wants a clearer understanding of what is an is not acceptable under the present rules.

"We should have been playing against 10 men," said the United boss, who also enjoyed goals from Welbeck and Michael Carrick.

"But these inconsistencies are confusing to everyone.

"Referees have to be given direction about what are the laws of the game and what should be permitted in terms of tackles.

"(Referees' chief) Mike Riley has to be given the rope to say this is not allowed, two-footed tackles are not acceptable, whether you take the ball or not."

Chelsea edged a tight 1-0 win over Sunderland courtesy of Frank Lampard's instinctive finish as Fernando Torres' scissor kick came back off the crossbar.

The midfielder's relationship with manager Andre Villas-Boas has been under the microscope for much of the season but after his 12th strike of the season - and 181st for the Blues - the Portuguese was talking up his chances of breaking the club's scoring record. He is currently 12 behind Kerry Dixon and 21 short of Bobby Tambling.

"He is almost within a 10-goal distance now from another Chelsea legend and it's good for him."

"Frank is always a player who has this amazing timing of arrival in the box.

"It's not coincidence that he's one of the best goalscoring midfielders in the world and his timing is magnificent."

Tottenham saw their recent momentum stalled after a 1-1 draw at home to Wolves, leaving manager Harry Redknapp to remind people the club's primary target was Champions League football - with the title an outside bet.

"I've never said to anybody that we are going to win the league," he said.

"I know where we are at and if we can get a Champions League position again this season it will be great for us.

"I only answered their question of if it is possible and of course it is possible. Man City and Man United will be red hot favourites to win the league but if we had a fantastic run in the second half like we have had in the first half of the season it could happen."

Blackburn emerged from the bottom three with a 3-1 defeat of Fulham - a result made all the better by the fact Ayegbeni Yakubu was sent off after just 23 minutes.

"Psychologically, to come out of the bottom three on the back of a good performance is great for us. We had a lot of big displays out there."

Saturday's other matches included Stoke's goalless draw at Liverpool, a 2-1 win for Norwich at West Brom and a 1-1 draw between Aston Villa and Everton.

PA

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