Premier League

Fergie says luck evens out

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insists lucky breaks even themselves out over the course of a season.

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On Wednesday Patrick Vieira suggested that United, along with most major clubs in Spain and Italy, benefited from favourable decisions on home soil - although the Frenchman later claimed his comments were taken out of context.

The argument has been reignited following Michael Oliver's failure to award Fulham a last-minute penalty at Old Trafford on Monday for Michael Carrick's clumsy challenge on Danny Murphy.

Ferguson accepts United - who won the game 1-0 - were lucky with that one.

However, he can cite plenty of other instances where his team were wronged.

"From the referee's position, I can see why he didn't give a penalty when Danny Murphy was brought down," he said.

"The ball moved to the angle as Michael Carrick challenged him. From that position, it wasn't clear.

"It was a good claim but City could have had a penalty against them at Stoke for a foul by Gareth Barry.

"Every club gets breaks here and there, you get good ones and bad ones.

"It evens itself out over the season, that will never change."

Ferguson used United's home game against Newcastle in November as an example of a major decision affecting his team, when Rio Ferdinand conceded a penalty for a perfectly fair challenge on Hatem Ben Arfa.

He also has not forgotten how Mario Balotelli escaped a red card for stamping on Scott Parker during Manchester City's win over Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium in January, then scored the match-winning penalty in injury-time.

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Saturday, March 24
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"We had a terrible decision earlier this season when Newcastle got a penalty and Tottenham could claim the same when Mario Balotelli wasn't sent off and ended up scoring the winning goal," said Ferguson.

"You could go through millions of things like that.

"Maybe smaller clubs feel that (decisions go against them when they play big clubs) but someone said some years ago that we get lots of penalties. It is only averaging out at three a year.

"You can't say that is a lot when you are attacking teams all the time.

"Most managers believe the breaks even themselves out."

Meanwhile, Ferguson confirmed winger Nani would again be missing when United head to Blackburn on Monday.

The Portugal international has missed four games with an ankle injury and was expected to return to training early this week.

"He won't be back until tomorrow and Monday will come too soon," said the United boss.

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