Alex Ferguson has wished referee Lee Mason “good luck” in today’s League Cup tie between Manchester United and Chelsea, just three days after their fiery Stamford Bridge clash ended in controversy.
The fall-out from United’s thrilling victory on Sunday is set to continue beyond today’s game, when the Premier League’s top two will meet for the second time in a week.
Roberto Di Matteo’s side have accused referee Mark Clattenburg of using “inappropriate language” towards their players during Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat, prompting the Football Association to launch an investigation.
The Metropolitan Police are also looking at how a steward was injured as United celebrated Javier Hernandez’s controversial 75th-minute winner. “Good luck to the referee,” said Ferguson when asked if he had a message for Mason.
All eyes will be on the man with the whistle after Clattenburg dismissed Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres on Sunday before allowing Hernandez’s goal to stand despite the United striker appearing to be offside.
It is expected to be another hot-blooded clash, although both teams will make changes to their starting line-ups.
Hernandez, Ryan Giggs, Anderson, Paul Scholes and Danny Welbeck could feature, while centre-back Scott Wootton, Belgian defender Marnick Vermijl, Michael Keane and Nick Powell are also in contention.
Chelsea will also make changes, although some of Di Matteo’s adjustments will be forced as Ivanovic, Torres and John Terry are banned and Frank Lampard is recovering from a calf injury.
Di Matteo said: “I have to see how the players are and then we have to think about what kind of team I can put out on Wednesday.”
Clattenburg rejects racism claims as police intervene
Police yesterday launched a formal investigation into allegations Mark Clattenburg used “inappropriate language” towards John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata during Chelsea’s Premier League defeat to Manchester United.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed they had acted on what they described as a “complaint” made by the Society of Black Lawyers after the Blues accused referee Clattenburg of using comments that are understood to have been interpreted as racist remarks.
Press Association Sport understands the 37-year-old completely rejects the allegations against him, which are also the subject of a Football Association investigation.