Manchester United will turn to Wes Brown after Nemanja Vidic dismissal

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will turn to Wes Brown to fill the defensive void left by the suspension of Nemanja Vidic following the Serbian's dismissal in last night's damaging loss at the hands of Chelsea.

Vidic was sent off in the final minutes of the 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, which means United will be without either of their first-choice centre-halves for Sunday's Barclays Premier League game at Liverpool.

Rio Ferdinand is still troubled by the calf injury he sustained in the warm-up prior to the defeat at Wolves a month ago, so Brown will fill the central defensive vacancy alongside youngster Chris Smalling.

"I don't think Rio will be fit for Liverpool," said Ferguson. "Wes Brown will take over. He has great experience."

United will head to Merseyside under some degree of pressure following their second Premier League reverse of the campaign.

Although they retain a healthy 12-point advantage over Chelsea, the gap to nearest challengers Arsenal is only four, and both clubs now have a game in hand on Ferguson's men.

According to Ferguson, the man to blame for United finding themselves in this predicament is last night's referee, Martin Atkinson.

Ferguson was not happy to learn the Yorkshireman was in charge given the lingering resentment at John Terry's winner in the corresponding fixture last season.

The United boss was incensed after Atkinson played on after a trip by Chelsea scorer David Luiz on Wayne Rooney that could have resulted in a red card before awarding Yuri Zhirkov a "soft" penalty when he tumbled under Smalling's challenge moments later.

Frank Lampard converted the spot-kick to extend Chelsea's unbeaten home record over United to nine seasons and leave Ferguson furious.

"You hope you get a strong referee in games like this," he said.

"It was a major game for both clubs. You want a fair referee - or a strong referee, anyway - and we didn't get that.

"I don't know why he has got the game. I must say, when I saw who the referee was I did fear it. I feared the worst.

"It's hard to take. The Luiz foul was six yards in front of the referee, maybe eight if we give him the benefit of the doubt, no obstructions whatsoever. I don't know how he stayed on the pitch.

"And the penalty was very soft. In actual fact, Chris has taken the ball and the player's left his leg in. Very soft. Amazing."

Once the heat of battle has cooled, Ferguson may reflect that Rooney might not have been on the pitch to give United their first-half lead given his actions at Wigan on Saturday, although, last night, the United boss was full of praise for his striker.

"Wayne was terrific," he said. "He was a constant threat. He took a lot of abuse but he kept coming back."



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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before