Hughes attacks 'lunatic' Neville and the referee

City manager feels 'robbed' as United win Manchester derby with Owen goal deep in injury time

Mark Hughes accused Gary Neville of acting like "a lunatic" yesterday after an extraordinary derby was won 4-3 by Manchester United with a controversial injury-time goal from Michael Owen.

Hughes said his team felt "frustrated and robbed" by referee Martin Atkinson's decision to play an extra six minutes and 47 seconds after the fourth official had earlier indicated a minimum of four minutes of added time. Owen struck in the 96th minute after Craig Bellamy had snatched a dramatic equaliser for Manchester City in the 90th minute of the game, levelling the score at 3-3.

Hughes stopped short of accusing his former United team-mate Neville of directly celebrating in front of the City fans, Emmanuel Adebayor-style, but he said United's relief at snatching the victory showed how much beating City now meant to them. "I saw Gary Neville running off like a lunatic," Hughes said. "What I saw reminded me of Sir Alex and Brian Kidd [against Sheffield Wednesday] in 1993. It shows what it meant to them. It shows we can compete."

As Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that United had silenced their "noisy neighbours", the Manchester City manager accused the referee of getting the timekeeping of the match wrong. Atkinson's fourth official, Alan Wiley, had signalled four minutes minimum of time added on, just before Bellamy scored City's third goal.

"I tried to get an explanation [for the added time] from the fourth official but it didn't sit comfortably with me," Hughes said. "He tried to say that he had added a minute-plus because of our goal celebration. We timed the amount of time from when we scored [to make it 3-3] to when we kicked off at 45 seconds. So he has got that wrong."

Owen scored on 95 minutes, 25 seconds. However, under Premier League rules, the referee is entitled to go 59 seconds over the added-on time displayed on the fourth official's board. Add that 59 seconds to the requisite one minute extra for a goal, plus 30 seconds extra for a substitution – Michael Carrick came on for Luis Anderson – and Atkinson was within his rights to play past the time Owen scored.

That did nothing to console Hughes, who admitted that Old Trafford was famous for mysterious added time when he was a player there. "Historically it has happened before," Hughes said. "There were times here when United had a bit of a benefit and I never really felt it was an issue when I was a United player. We didn't have a bad time from referees.

"I am not questioning the referee's integrity. I just don't know where he has got seven minutes [added time] from. It would be nice to get an explanation but I don't think I will. I have looked at the videos and I can't see where he has got it from. It is a shame. We came back three times and showed great quality and character as a team."

United took the lead three times, through Wayne Rooney and twice through Darren Fletcher, only for Gareth Barry and then Craig Bellamy on two occasions to score the goals that brought City back into the game. It was Owen's goal, laid on by Ryan Giggs, that ultimately decided the outcome of the game.

Bellamy could face a Football Association charge for appearing to hit a United fan who ran on to the pitch after Owen had scored the winning goal. Hughes said: "The guy should not have been on the pitch, that's not acceptable. I recall Brian Clough clipping someone round the ear for coming on the pitch at Nottingham Forest."

United made fundamental errors – through Ben Foster and Rio Ferdinand – for City's first and third goals, but Ferguson preferred to focus on his rivals' propensity for what he saw as self-promotion. "For us, it's unusual for us to accept that they [City] are the top dogs in terms of media attention but, sometimes you have got a noisy neighbour and have to live with it," he said.

"You can't do anything about them if they keep on making noise but what we can do is get on with our lives, put the television on and turn it up a bit louder. But as far as the players are concerned they showed their playing power and that's the best answer of all. These neighbours will always be noisy."

With the post-match adrenalin flowing, Ferguson also said he felt United should have won by a seven-goal margin. "I am unhappy about the goals we conceded because it spoilt a [potentially] really emphatic victory, we could have scored six or seven goals," he said. "The fact we made the mistakes probably made it the best derby game of all time so you're left wondering, what would you rather have had? Won 6-0 or won the greatest derby game of all time? I'd rather have won 6-0."

Hughes responded with a dig at the relative qualities of Foster and City's Shay Given, who two great saves from Dimitar Berbatov. "Maybe he [Ferguson] feels the need to say that [about the scoreline]," Hughes said, "but I don't think he needs to say that. I have an outstanding goalkeeper who is paid to save shots going into the net and that is what he does."

Owen said: "It's a privilege to play in a team like this and you're never going to pass up an opportunity like that. I thought the lads played really well, I thought we dominated most of the game, but there were a lot of individual mistakes that cost us the goals."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine