Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson piles penalty pressure on referee ahead of Manchester City clash

Manchester United manager raises issue of number of penalties awarded at the Etihad in recent years

Sir Alex Ferguson has added another edge to Sunday's Manchester derby by claiming that if Manchester United were awarded as many penalties as Manchester City there would be a House of Commons inquiry.

City have been awarded 21 spot-kicks at the Etihad since the start of 2010/11, raising a debate over whether they are winning them too easily. In the last three home games alone they have won four - two against Aston Villa, and one each against Real Madrid and Everton.

Discussing the number of spot-kicks awarded at today's press conference ahead of Sunday's derby, Ferguson said questions would be raised if the same situation had occurred at Old Trafford.

"The number of penalty kicks they get - 21 in the last year or something like that," said Ferguson.

"If we got that number of penalty kicks there'd be an inquiry in the House of Commons. There'd be a protest."

Ferguson's comments are sure to put pressure on Sunday's referee Martin Atkinson should a decision need to be made during the match.

Ironically, United have actually been awarded more penalties this season, although have missed four of them. The latest came in the 4-3 victory over Reading, although Wayne Rooney buried that particular spot-kick.

Yesterday, Ryan Giggs said Liverpool remained United's biggest rivals, although Ferguson concedes that City's new found wealth and challenge for trophies has changed the landscape of football in England.

"Liverpool and United games over the last 25 years have been unbelievable," said Ferguson.

"They've always been the most important games.

"It's shifted because at this moment Liverpool aren't challenging for the league like City are.

"City are our biggest threat and we're their biggest threat, so that's changed.

"Their fortunes changed the minute Sheikh Mansour took over.

"We know the minute that happened it was going to be a different ball game altogether.

"But, as we have in the past, we have to accept their challenge like we did when Chelsea came along and when Arsenal overtook Liverpool in the early 90s.

"We have to do it again."

Ferguson is waiting to discover whether Tom Cleverley will be fit after limping out of Wednesday's Champions League defeat to Cluj with a calf injury.

Antonio Valencia and Nani have already been ruled out, whilst faint hopes that both Shinji Kagawa and skipper Nemanja Vidic could be involved appear to have faded.

"I thought Kagawa may have done enough to make the bench on Wednesday but no, he's well short," said Ferguson.

"I don't think he'll be available until the Sunderland game next week.

"Nemanja Vidic is certainly doing well in training. It suits his own confidence to play but I think the game on Sunday is a bit soon for him.

"I think he'll also be ready for Sunderland."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence