Ferguson: Penalty call was ‘shocking’

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson could not hide his frustration over Newcastle’s equalizer after his side had to settle for a 1-1 draw in Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils took the lead through Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez early in the second half but were pegged back just after the hour mark when Demba Ba scored from the penalty spot.

Referee Mike Jones initially appeared to give a corner following what looked like a fair tackle by Rio Ferdinand on  Hatem Ben Arfa, but after speaking to assistant John Flynn, Jones awarded the Magpies a spot-kick.

Ferguson believes Jones should not have listened to his linesman and is hopeful the decision does not come back to haunt his side later in the Premier League season.

"Everyone, including the referee, was astounded. He was put in a terrible position. Why can’t the referee overrule it when he is only eight yards away?" Ferguson told Sky Sports post-match.

"The problem is that the referees are full-time and the linesmen are not, and whether he ever gets a game again, the assistant referee, is not for me to decide but it was an absolutely shocking decision."

Recalling a Didier Drogba’s April 2010 goal at Old Trafford, Ferguson alluded to how controversial decisions can affect title races.

"It costs you. Two years ago when the linesman gave the offside goal against Chelsea it cost us the league, so hopefully we’re not saying that at the end of May."

Manchester United went on to carve out a number of glorious opportunities in the closing stages, especially after Jonas Gutierrez picked up a second yellow card for Newcastle. Ultimately, Manchester United could not find a winner.

Hernandez had also squandered chances in the first half and, while Ferguson was unhappy about dropping points, he saluted his team’s creativity.

"Listening to [Newcastle manager] Alan Pardew’s interview and he said he thought they were the better team in the first half, I don’t know what game he was at," said Ferguson.

"They made one chance in the match but in the first half Chicharito had four one-on-ones in the first half and on another day he takes two or three.

"In terms of creating chances we were fantastic, and if we play like that every week I’ll be delighted."