Fergie stands by ref rant after United go clear with thrilling win over Newcastle
20:45 GMT, 26 December 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson defended his decision to give referee Mike Dean a half-time blast of his hairdryer before Manchester United sealed another famous comeback win.
Javier Hernandez's last-minute winner against Newcastle at Old Trafford gave United a 4-3 triumph from a game when they had trailed three times, and took them seven points clear of Manchester City.
But an incident-packed afternoon had one of its most notable moments as the teams came out for the second-half.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (left) argues with referee Mike Dean after he allowed a Jonny Evans own goal to stand
Ferguson gave Dean a blast of his famous hairdryer during half-time of the game that eventually saw Manchester United win 4-3
Ferguson first rounded on Dean, then fourth official Neil Swarbrick before finally launching into assistant referee Jake Collin over Newcastle's second, an own-goal from Jonny Evans, which he was convinced should not have been allowed to stand.
'The referee changed the linesman's mind,' said Ferguson after Collin had flagged for offside against Papiss Cisse, only to get over-ruled after Evans turned home Danny Simpson's cross.
'He said it was an own goal. But if you see it again, and the referee can't, the guy is in an offside position, then he pulls Evans' arm.
Indecision: Ferguson said that Dean changed the mind of assisstant referee Jake Collin (right) who had ruled out the goal for offside
'If that is not interfering what is I think it was a bad decision.'
Yet former World Cup official Graham Poll had already taken to Twitter to insist Dean was correct, as Newcastle chief Alan Pardew also felt.
'At the time I thought it was an own goal,' Pardew said.
Fergie congratulates Javier Hernandez, scorer of the decisive 90th minute goal
'It doesn't matter who is offside, he could be 20 yards offside if the defender sticks it in.
'I don't know if the striker got a touch before the defender but I don't think so. I can't see a problem with it.'
The Premier League also confirmed that 'as Cisse did not play the ball, then he was not interfering with play'.
They also stated that: 'It is also the case that Cisse didn't interfere with the opponent.'
It is now down to Dean to decide whether Ferguson overstepped the mark with his protestations, although he did have the option of sending the United boss to the stand, which he declined to do.
There was further controversy in stoppage time too, when Antonio Valencia slid in on Vernon Anita, leaving the Newcastle man needing to be stretchered off with an injured ankle.
'I was a bit upset with that tackle,' said Pardew. 'I have seen it again and I don't think it was malicious but Valencia has mistimed it badly and unfortunately it might cost us a player.
'I am not sure what is wrong. It is too early to say.
'It is a bang on the ankle. We will have to see whether he will make Arsenal, which would be a loss to us.'
Chicarito's 10th of the season means Manchester United are top of the league, seven points clearer of local rivals City
Pardew also confirmed midfielder Jonas Guttierez faces a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury after missing today's game.
'He will be missing the next two or three games,' he said.
'Guttierez will have an injection in his knee tomorrow. It is not clearing up and he is not 100%.'
And those talking points do not touch on an amazing game.
Three times Newcastle led, through James Perch, Evans and Cisse, only for Evans – becoming the third player this season to score at both ends – Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie, with his 16th goal of the season, to respond.
Further chances came and went in a thrill-a-minute game.
But when Sammy Ameobi struck the inside of a post with a shot Pardew thought was going in, he feared the worst.
Dean received some flak for his decisions from players of both Manchester United (above) and Newcastle United (below)
'When it went back to the goalkeeper I thought 'mmm, it might not be our day', said Pardew.
He was right. And it wasn't Manchester City's either as Hernandez struck in the dying seconds to ensure United will be top on New Years' Day no matter what the outcome of matches against West Brom and Wigan.
'I wish it was the last game of the season,' said Ferguson.
'It tells you about the courage of our team though.
'We had a lot of bad decisions against us in the first-half.
Newcastle had lead three times with goals from James Perch, a controversial Jonny Evans own goal (pictured) and Papiss Cisse, but were pegged back with goals at the right end from Evans, Patrice Evra, Robin van Persie (below) and Javier Hernandez
'That could have demoralised the team. But they didn't give in. That is the great quality they have.
'We were down three times and came back three times, then we scored the winner.
'It is a really significant result for us. It puts us in a good position.
'But as I always say about December, it is a month that tells you everything.
'Hopefully when we come to January 1, after that game at Wigan, we are still top of the league.'
Alan Pardew's (pictured) Newcastle side slipped to 15th in the table and are still without an away victory in nine attempts this season