United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was so furious at Nani’s red card, he took the unprecedented step of not speaking to the media after the 2-1 defeat as he was supposed to under Champions League rules.
Assistant Mike Phelan carried out the duty instead, admitting he was more likely to adopt a diplomatic stance than his boss, who would have risked hefty sanction had he said in public what he thought in private. Ferguson is due to speak to the media on Friday ahead of Manchester United’s FA Cup quarter-final with Chelsea.
The gagging order was extended to United’s playing squad, who were similarly simmering, so at least UEFA can have no axe to grind on that score. However, Rio Ferdinand sarcastically applauded Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir after the final whistle and United will need to wait to see if any reference is made to it when the assessor’s report lands at UEFA.
Cakir did fair: UEFA
If the incident is flagged up, Ferdinand can expect to face some kind of sanction, given UEFA were happy with Cakir’s performance.
“There are no issues for us regarding the sending off,” said a UEFA spokesman.
“We will wait for the official reports of the match delegate and the referee’s observer. If they raise concerns we will act,” he added.
However, former United players were incredulous.
“That decision was an absolute joke,” former United defender Viv Anderson said.
Another ex-player, Lou Macari, said: “He was the same referee who sent John Terry off in the semi-final last season.