Fergie admits Fulham should have had penalty
Published 22:29 26/03/12 By MirrorFootball
Martin Jol felt referee Michael Oliver bottled it in not giving Fulham a late penalty as Manchester United reclaimed top spot.
Jol accused Oliver of not being brave enough to award a spot-kick when Michael Carrick caught Danny Murphy with his left foot in the 89th minute at Old Trafford.
Even Sir Alex Ferguson admitted United had been lucky after Wayne Rooney's winner saw them open up a three-point lead over Manchester City.
"This is not the first time, especially not for me," said the Fulham boss, who was in charge of Tottenham when Pedro Mendes' ball went a metre over the line here.
"You have to be brave to give a penalty at Old Trafford and that's the only disappointment we have.
"It needed a brave decision because it was either a dive and he should book someone or he has to give Carrick a red card.
"I don't want to see Michael Carrick sent off, but it needed a brave decision and I think it was a penalty kick.
"No-one in the stadium could say Danny Murphy dived and everyone in the stadium expected a penalty."
Ferguson felt United should have had a penalty for handball against Stephen Kelly in the first half and that this might have affected Oliver's thinking.
"I think the referee has been a bit lenient when we had a claim for a penalty kick in the first half," said the United boss.
"It was a clear handball. It was a claim and Patrice Evra thought it was a stone-waller.
"Maybe the referee was thinking about that. But certainly Michael Carrick caught Danny Murphy's heel as he's come back.
"We made enough chances to finish the game off, but didn't do it and that was the disappointing thing."
Ferguson refused to get carried away by United's lead in the title race, saying: "It's a good position to be in, but it's not a decisive one.
"There are no straightforward games. We know that. The experienced players know it, but the crowd still don't. They have watched us for 100 years but they still get nervous when we are not finishing teams off. And we should have finished them off."
The result extended United's run to 28 points from a possible 30 and provides them with a handy advantage heading into the final eight games.
Relegation-threatened Blackburn provide the next test at Ewood Park in seven days' time when Ferguson hopes Rio Ferdinand has recovered from the back problem that forced him off with 20 minutes remaining.
"Rio has a bit of stiffness," he said. "He gets that from time to time so we brought Chris Smalling on as a safeguard.
"If Rio had played it out, he would probably have managed it okay but he may not have been available for a couple of weeks.
"We have done the right thing."