Date: 20th May 2007 at 1:47pm
Written by:

Sir Alex rues fatigue and refereeing decisions after losing the FA Cup final to Chelsea.

To be honest, I could not muster the strength yesterday night to read post-match quotes. I did it today and one thing shocked me: Fergie’s insistence on a penalty.

The boss felt that before Giggs’ non-goal the Welsh Wizard had been fouled by Michael Essien.

‘It was a penalty kick, ‘ said Sir Alex.

‘Then the goalkeeper’s spilled the ball behind the line. I think it will have been a difficult one for the linesman to call but the referee should be in a better position.

‘I couldn’t see the incident from where I was, there were players right in front of me, but I’ve seen it since (on TV) and it was a clear penalty kick. The referee must have been in a good position to see that. It’s disappointing to see the replay, I must say.

‘I think the pressure (Chelsea boss Jose) Mourinho put on the referee before the game has certainly worked and I’m (also) disappointed at that.’

I’ve watched the incident on tape and I must say I failed to spot any contact between Essien and Giggs so I still think that the correct decision would have been a free kick to Chelsea.

As for Mourinho putting pressure on the referee: it certainly worked but not in their favour. Quite simply, Steve Bennett blew his whistle whenever someone appeared to make physical contact with someone. It did not favour Chelsea or us: it simply contributed to make the game even tighter. I don’t like Steve Bennett and my opinion of him did not improve but his decision meant no disadvantage for us.

‘There was nothing between the two teams,’ continued Fergie. ”Neither team deserved to win or lose to be honest. It`s just disappointing we have lost. ‘The pitch was slow, that didn’t help the match.

‘From our point of view I think we were a bit tired in two or three positions which didn’t help us. What the players have been through these last few months has been exceptional, I’ve got to give them credit for that. They just couldn`t cross the line today.’

I agree about the pitch and it’s true that very little was between the two teams. However, speaking of fatigue would be OK if we played Arsenal but Chelsea played even more games this season and they even used some of their half-fit players in this final so fatigue should not be an excuse. We just could not cross the line, that’s the truth.