Alex Ferguson furious over Birmingham goal

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson vented his anger at referee Lee Mason despite Manchester United ending 2010 as Barclays Premier League leaders.

Ferguson was fuming after Mason did not rule out a last-minute equaliser by Birmingham midfielder Lee Bowyer in a 1-1 draw at St. Andrew's.

The United boss felt Blues striker Nikola Zigic had handled the ball and committed a foul before Bowyer volleyed home from close range to cancel out Dimitar Berbatov's 15th goal of the campaign.

Ferguson said: "I thought the result was terribly harsh after the way we played in the second half.

"This is a difficult place to come to. Every team that comes here has a difficult game.

"It was a handball and a foul on the centre half (by Zigic) with their equaliser.

"He went right through him. If the referee can't see that what chance have you got?

"The players have worked their socks off and they deserved to win that match but it's taken away from them by a bad decision.

"We didn't deserve that."

United are ahead of Manchester City on goal difference but have two games in hand and are also seven points ahead of champions Chelsea.

He said: "Am I confident about the title? I think we've got a chance.

"There's five or six teams are all contesting that area towards the top of the league.

"I always say that if you get to the new year and you're in that top position, then Manchester United have a very good chance."

Blues have made a habit of collecting points from the leading sides, defeating Chelsea and drawing with Manchester City, Tottenham.

Now the share of the spoils against the Red Devils has moved them out of the bottom three.

City boss Alex McLeish said: "We are not a safe distance at the moment from the bottom part of the table.

"But we have recorded vital points and they could be very crucial at the end of the season.

"We got a bit of luck with our goal but, for all the bad luck we've had this season, we deserved it and we'll take it."

Berbatov produced a clinical piece of finishing to break the deadlock after a tame first half following good play by Darron Gibson, who was starting his first league game since April.

But Bowyer, who is 34 next week, had already scored the winner against Chelsea and his eye for a chance served him well again in the dying seconds.

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