Ferguson annoyed at ref as United's home run ends

MANCHESTER, England, Nov 26, 2009 (AFP) - Sir Alex Ferguson claimed his side were denied a 'stonewall' penalty by French referee Stephane Lannoy after Manchester United's long unbeaten home record in Europe was ended by Besiktas.

Ferguson was annoyed that Lannoy waved away strong appeals after substitute Patrice Evra was fouled by Ibrahim Kas in the closing stages of Besiktas's 1-0 win at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Manchester United's Anderson (R) and Besiktas midfielder Fabian Ernst compete for the ball as Besiktas win 0-1 in their UEFA Champions League Group B football match at Old Trafford in Manchester on November 25, 2009. (AFP photo)

The United manager, who has found himself in trouble domestically for criticising match officials this season, is running out of patience after claiming it was the second successive game in Europe that United have been denied a penalty.

"That's two games in a row we've been denied a stonewall penalty in Europe," said Ferguson.

"It's not in the spirit of the game, but what can you do? "If you can't give these kicks then the game is in trouble."

Asked whether he still stood by his view, which he aired earlier this season, that the standard of refereeing in Europe is better than in England, he replied: "I'm not going into that. No comment."

Ferguson refused to criticise his young players afterwards as a United side made up of youth and experience suffered an unexpected setback which leaves them with work to do to secure top spot in Group B.

They must avoid defeat in their final game in Germany against Wolfsburg on December 8, but Ferguson refused to divulge what sort of side he will field for that fixture.

England striker Wayne Rooney was given a rare night off against Besiktas while the likes of Michael Owen, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher started on the bench.

The tactic backfired as Besiktas's experience proved enough to secure a victory that will give United's Champions League rivals encouragement.

Yet Ferguson declined to lay the blame at the feet of his youngsters. Danny Welbeck, who turns 19 on Thursday, started his first Champions League game for the club alongside 19-year-old Federico Macheda in attack.

"You need a bit of composute in the last third, but the young players were a bit anxious. It's understandable," added Ferguson.

"It's not the biggest fault in the world.

"You have to be fair in terms of assessing the players we're playing in these games at the moment.

"The fact we play them tells you how much we value them. The one thing we can give them is experience."

Ferguson also refused to criticise keeper Ben Foster. The England international was beaten by a long-range effort by Rodrigo Tello which took a deflection.

"It was proably going a foot to his right hand side. It was a wicked deflection," said Ferguson.

"I think he would have (saved it if it had not taken a deflection)."

Besiktas coach Mustafa Denizli saluted his players for an historic victory for Turkish football.

"To come to Manchester United and play at Old Trafford, we know it's very difficult to win games here," said Denizli.

"We're obviously very pleased with the result. The whole world knows what a big team United is.

"The players did their duties and everyone did the job that was asked of them."

Source: AFP

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