Alex Ferguson accused Roberto Mancini of “haranguing” the match officials throughout the 1-0 defeat for Manchester United, which the Scot admitted has put his team’s neighbours in pole position to win the Premier League title.
The managers rowed on the touchline during the second half after a foul by Manchester City’s Nigel de Jong on Danny Welbeck, who left on crutches. The fourth official, Mike Jones, helped to separate the pair, who were pulled part by members of their backroom staffs.
“He refereed the game,” Ferguson said of Mancini. “He was out on that touchline the whole game haranguing the referee, the fourth official and the linesmen. The minute I come off the bench for a bad tackle by De Jong on Welbeck, he was out again. He can’t have it both ways. He’s been complaining about referees this season but he won’t be complaining tonight that’s for sure.”
When this was put to Mancini, City’s manager said: “Who said this? Him, no? He doesn’t talk with the referee or the fourth official? No, never. I didn’t speak with him, he came towards me, but I can understand. I said nothing against him, only spoke to the fourth official.”
The Italian attempted to play down the incident.
“I don’t know because I was talking with the fourth official after the foul and he [Ferguson] told me some kind words and I don’t know why. I answered him but afterwards it was finished. I can understand because at this moment the tension is high.” The pair shook hands after the final whistle.