United And Rooney Lose Grip While Glazers Tighten Theirs
Manchester United suffered only their second EPL defeat of the season, at Champions Chelsea earlier this week, and are now only four points ahead of nearest challengers Arsenal, who have a game in hand.
And their victory over Wigan last weekend was overshadowed by the off-the-ball antics of Wayne Rooney, who took his striker’s role too literally for the Latics’ James McCarthy early in the game, but controversially escaped punishment.
Meanwhile, United’s American owners, the Glazer family, continue to deal with media rumours of a United sale to the Qatari royal family by denying that talks have taken place.
United lost their half-time lead at Stamford Bridge, after Rooney’s excellent first-half strike. And manager Sir Alex Ferguson was, perhaps predictably, furious at match referee Martin Atkinson for key decisions.
Atkinson gave the late penalty from which Chelsea won the game. And he failed to send off the Blues’ first goalscorer David Luiz, after the already-booked Portuguese defender cynically blocked Rooney shortly before the winning goal.
Ferguson said: “It was incredible. He does Rooney as clear as day. That changed the game. The foul was six yards in front of the referee, maybe eight, to give him the benefit of the doubt, no obstructions whatsoever.
“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. Dear me.” And so on.
Rooney was very fortunate to get away with a clear elbow to the head of Wigan midfielder McCarthy in a centre-circle clash sparked by McCarthy’s attempt to obstruct the United man.
Referee Mark Clattenburg, another of Ferguson’s non-favourite officials, gave a free-kick to Wigan but took no further action. And further sanction by the football authorities was ruled out as Clattenburg dealt with the situation at the time.
Ferguson was typically bullish in defence of Rooney, saying: “There’s nothing in it…(but) as it’s Wayne the press will raise a campaign to get him hung or electrocuted, something like that.”
The Glazer family used the announcement of United’s latest financial results to deny the club was for sale. Their short statement read: “No discussions have taken place, Man Utd is not for sale and the owners will not entertain any offers.”
The results revealed that club debts fell over the last quarter, but remain eye-wateringly high at £489.4m.
United travel to arch-rivals Liverpool in the EPL this Sunday.
Tags: Manchester United, EPL, Wayne Rooney, Sir Alex Ferguson, Man Utd