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You want a strong referee

It’s rare that Alex Ferguson loses his temper after a football match: his team wins so often that decisions that go for or against him don’t really matter. But when they do... watch out officials, old Red Nose is coming for you, and wants your reputation hung on a meat hook.

This time Ferguson has raged at referee Martin Atkinson, who officiated Manchester United’s 2-1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last night, and who he clearly feels favoured the Londoners. Crucial decisions in the game did go the Blues way, as even the most die-hard Chelsea fan would be hard-pressed to justify David Luiz remaining on the pitch, but Ferguson’s attitude towards Wayne Rooney’s assault at the weekend was markedly different.

‘You hope you get a really strong referee in games like this,’ he said. ‘It was a major game for both clubs and you want a fair referee, you know... You want a strong referee, anyway, and we didn't get that.

‘It was incredible. I don't know how he's (Luiz) on the pitch. Even before (fouling Rooney) that he'd done Chicharito off the ball, late. Nothing's done and the referee's in front of it. He's then done Rooney, clear as day, and he's six yards from him. Doesn't do anything.

‘These decisions change the game, and he's going to be refereeing every week. I was proud of my players. They've endured a lot of decisions against them, they've carried themselves through it, done their best, created chances with good football, and didn't deserve that.’

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