‘Mancini was badgering the referee the whole game’

Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson last night accused Manchester City counterpart Roberto Mancini of “badgering” the officials after the pair clashed on the touchline during last night’s derby at the Etihad Stadium.

City prevailed 1-0 thanks to captain Vincent Kompany’s first-half header to take them top of the Premier League table, above United on goal difference with two games each left to play.

The managers had to be kept apart on the touchline by fourth official Mike Jones after a difference of opinion over Nigel de Jong’s foul on Danny Welbeck led to angry words and gestures being exchanged, although the pair did shake hands at the final whistle.

Ferguson said: “He was badgering the referee the whole game, the fourth official and the linesman, and the minute I go out there...

“He was complaining about referees all week, he can’t be complaining tonight, that’s for sure.”

Ferguson felt his side were poor on the night and conceded the title was now City’s to throw away.

“We’re disappointed we never tested their goalkeeper,’’ he said.

Ferguson added: “I think they’re in the driver’s seat now. It’s not over yet, but they’ve got an eight-goal advantage. It’s a big advantage.”

For his part, Mancini said his side deserved the win but warned his players to be on their mettle against Newcastle next week, with United facing an “easy’’ home fixture against Swansea.

“We are happy but I think that next Sunday we will have another difficult game,” he said.

“They play an easy game against Swansea. I think at this moment we are top of the league, but United has a light advantage yet.”


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