Scottish Premier League

Green: I shouldn't have said that

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Mon, 08 Apr 2013 19:31:00

Substitute Sergio Aguero broke Manchester United hearts all over again as Manchester City won 2-1 at Old Trafford.

The Argentine, whose goal won City the title in May, came off the bench to score the winner after a Vincent Kompany own goal had cancelled out James Milner's strike in an eventful second half.

The result closes the gap between the two sides to 12 points with seven games to play and, while it is unlikely to prevent the Red Devils regaining the Premier League crown, the game was still played out in an intense atmosphere.

The first half, although surprisingly open, was more notable for a series of robust challenges rather than goalmouth incidents as Wayne Rooney and Kompany were both booked for poor fouls.

Rafael did clip the crossbar after latching onto a Robin van Persie flick-on just before the interval but clear opportunities were few and far between despite the end-to-end nature of the contest.

But City didn't have to wait long to find the breakthrough in the second half and it came after good work from Gareth Barry, who robbed Ryan Giggs on the left before finding Samir Nasri in the area.

Rafael did well to tackle Nasri in the box but the Frenchman was still able to tee up Milner and the midfielder struck a fierce left-footed shot that took a slight deflection past David De Gea.

As has been a feature of their season, the goal appeared to spark United to life and the home side soon found an equaliser from the unlikely source of City skipper Kompany.

Van Persie whipped in a free-kick and Phil Jones just had to nod into the empty net but he miscued the effort badly only to strike the back of the Belgium international and see the ball diverted home.

If that was supposed to prompt a United onslaught it failed to emerge with Roberto Mancini instead looking to his bench to introduce Aguero for Nasri and deliver the game's killer blow.

The diminutive striker showed remarkable balance to dance past a series of challenges and blast the ball into the roof of the net to stun the home crowd into silence.

Despite heavy United pressure in the final stages, Sir Alex Ferguson's side could not find an equaliser and for the second successive season City were able to leave Old Trafford as the victors.

Mancini felt it was a deserved victory and claimed it was important his team gave a good account of themselves.

"We are happy because we played very well," he told Sky Sports. "This is the most important thing for us. We deserved to win."

But Sir Alex Ferguson saw it differently and claimed his United side were unfortunate not to get a result.

He told Sky Sports: "We were quite dangerous a few times on the counter-attack and we maybe could have done better, but in the second half I thought we were the better team and were unlucky to lose it."

Green originally made the comments in a radio interview when defending Ally McCoist's performance as manager, and then stood by them in a Sunday newspaper interview.

That drew a reaction from McCoist while other comments in the same interview saw Green accused of using "racist and offensive language" by anti-racism campaigners.

Green did not exactly back down over the team criticism today but he appeared to recognise that his public comments might not have been helpful.

The former Sheffield United chief executive told STV: "I've said a lot of things in 12 months. There isn't one thing that stands out that I think 'well, perhaps I shouldn't have said that'.

"Perhaps I shouldn't have said this was the worst Rangers team ever. Perhaps that wasn't a good thing to say. Was it true? Was it misleading?

"It wasn't said to win fans over. It wasn't said to win anyone over. The press say Charles Green says this to keep the fans onside. I don't."

Responding to Green's remarks after his side beat Queen's Park yesterday in their first match since clinching the Irn-Bru Third Division title, McCoist said: "It's also the best Rangers team Charles has ever seen, to be honest.

"In my opinion, it's not the worst Rangers team.

"I'm not sure how many titles Charles has won in his career but I've been very fortunate to win 14 at our football club, including as assistant manager.

"That title we were all involved in just there is the hardest one.

"I know what it takes to win a title. It doesn't matter what division you are in, it takes a special group of people and talent and hard work to win titles.

"We've got a group of boys who were assembled in the space of six or seven days and have managed to win a title and they are 24 points clear.

"I would think everybody could maybe take a wee step back and offer some congratulations to those boys. I'm certainly doing that right now."

Meanwhile, Green defended his decision to sack Francisco Sandaza over comments made during a hoax telephone call that was broadcast online.

The striker revealed details of his salary and talked about a potential move during a long conversation with someone masquerading as an agent.

The striker scored two goals in 17 games for Rangers after signing a three-year contract in August.

Green said: "If Lionel Messi was a Rangers player and he was recorded saying 'I don't want to play for Rangers, get me a contract, I'll go and sign for another club, give it to me, don't go through the club,' I'd sack Lionel Messi. Anyone, it wouldn't matter.

"If anyone denigrates this club, if anyone has no respect for the badge, if anyone doesn't want to work here, then go.

"What we are going to do is make sure this club is not being reported for the wrong reasons or players stupid enough to make those comments to someone they've never met or never spoken to and make those disparaging remarks.

"It wasn't, to my mind, the issue he's told someone he was on ?4,000 a week. My salary is on the internet. It's not about telling someone 'I'm on a salary'.

"It's the comments he made that said he would happily leave this club, he didn't want to be here and he came for the money. We want people here who want to play because it's Rangers."

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