Do not adjust your sets, Old Trafford boss admits wrong decision benefited United.
Alex Ferguson admitted Nemanja Vidic was lucky not to be sent off in Manchester United’s 2-1 Carling Cup final defeat of Aston Villa.
Villa won a penalty when Vidic fouled Gabriel Agbonlahor, but the Serb remained on the pitch despite denying the striker a goalscoring opportunity.
“We got a lucky break, he could have been sent off,” said the United boss.
“I think it would be universally accepted they should be down to 10 men,” said Villa boss Martin O’Neill.
“It’s not a good decision by an otherwise fine referee, it’s poor.”
Vidic was outpaced by Agbonlahor and when he brought the Villa striker to the ground, it appeared he had prevented him from a clear goalscoring opportunity.
However, referee Phil Dowd – who showed four yellow cards during the game, including one to Vidic in the second half – opted against even cautioning the United centre-half at the time.
O’Neill added: “Obviously at Wembley, we score the penalty, they are down to 10 men for virtually the whole game. It’s a major point in the game.
“It does not matter if it is in the first second or the 89th minute of the game, the decision is straightforward. It is so straightforward it is incredible.”
Vidic himself accepted he had committed a foul, but did not believe it was worthy of a dismissal.
The 28-year-old said: “I don’t think I deserved a red card as I did not tackle him from behind. But I admit it was definitely a penalty.” (BBC Sport)
Well there’s a turn up for the books, what next Arsene Wenger admits “he did see it after all”. The mark of a good manager is the inability to take defeat on the chin so its always nice to see a boss take it on the chin and say “you know what, today we got a lucky break”, makes a nice change from the usual excuses and blame game tactics.
As for the decision itself, well its a tough one. Any incident in the early stages of a big game tends to be looked upon cautiously, which of course makes no sense as an incident in the first minute should be treated the same as one in the 90th, but thats just the way it is. Yes Vidic pulled down a player in a potentially goal scoring position but what really made no sense was the fact that the Serbian wasn’t even given a yellow card.
Would a sending off have changed the course of the game? Probably, but thats part and parcel of the game and these things, and here comes a cliche, tend to even themselves out over the course of a season.