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Man Utd No2 Phelan: Ferguson within rights to rap ref

Manchester United No2 Mike Phelan insists Sir Alex Ferguson was within his rights to criticise the match officials after defeat at Chelsea.

United felt aggrieved over the manner of John Terry's 77th minute winner for the hosts.

Phelan told BBC Sport: "I know the manager talks about referees but I think he has a point at times. He has to make these points in order to try and improve the standard.

"The referee obviously gave the off-side decision, the linesman's there, he should see it, (he) didn't do it correctly from what we saw but you have to live with these things in football."

He added: "First and foremost we didn't really think it was a free-kick. We though Darren) Fletcher was committed to the tackle, he won the ball and Ashley Cole was getting out of the way of it really. But on the actual free-kick itself; the delivery of the free-kick, we felt that there was an infringement there against Wes Brown but the referee wasn't in a very good position to see it.

"He should have been in a better position but we should have defender it better and we didn't and we paid the price."

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Tribal Football Staff

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