Tag Archives: offside

AC Milan 2 Barcelona 0: Kevin Prince Boateng scores the winner

AC Milan 2 Barcelona 0: Forza Pompey! Former Premier League stars Boateng and Muntari strike with Messi off the pace

PUBLISHED:

21:36 GMT, 20 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:11 GMT, 20 February 2013

AC Milan took a surprise first-leg lead in their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona.

While Barca top the Primera Division by 12 points, Milan lie third in Serie A – but Kevin-Prince Boateng's controversial opening goal set the Italians on their way at the San Siro.

And Sulley Muntari's superb second put Massimiliano Allegri's side firmly in the driving seat ahead of March 12's return leg at the Nou Camp.

Here we go: Kevin-Prince Boateng, (left) celebrates after opening the scoring

Here we go: Kevin-Prince Boateng, (left) celebrates after opening the scoring

Double trouble: Sulley Muntari celebrates after firing home the second goal

Double trouble: Sulley Muntari celebrates after firing home the second goal

Muntari flashed an early shot over the bar from long range for Milan.

Philippe Mexes made a vital cleaance
at the other end to prevent Jordi Alba's cross reaching Pedro Rodriguez
and though the same defender then handled Dani Alves' delivery, Pedro
had already been flagged offside.

Stephane El Shaarawy's poor touch saw a
good chance slip away but resulted in a corner, taken by the prolific
young striker, from which Boateng shot just wide.

Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati
held Xavi's well-struck 30-yard drive and El Shaarawy tracked superbly
to the left-back position to break up another Barca attack.

Appeal: Barcelona wanted a free-kick for handball in the build up but Boateng did not care

Appeal: Barcelona wanted a free-kick for handball in the build up but Boateng did not care

Takeaway: Muntari's goal means Milan have a 2-0 lead to bring to the Nou Camp

Takeaway: Muntari's goal means Milan have a 2-0 lead to bring to the Nou Camp

Mexes collected the first yellow card
for tripping Lionel Messi and as Barca pressed, Riccardo Montolivo
prevented Pedro's backheel reaching Cesc Fabregas.

Boateng's cross eluded a sliding El Shaarawy before a goalless half petered out somewhat.

Sergio Busquets was booked early in
the second period after fouling Giampaolo Pazzini, moments before the
controversial opening goal.

Montolivo's shot took two deflections,
the second off the raised arm of Cristian Zapata, before Boateng fired
low past Victor Valdes. Gerard Pique was booked for protesting to
Scottish referee Craig Thomson.

Off the pace: Lionel Messi struggled to make any impact

Off the pace: Lionel Messi struggled to make any impact

Patched up: Carles Puyol was erratic as Barcelona struggled

Patched up: Carles Puyol was erratic as Barcelona struggled

Messi blazed an uncharacteristically
wayward free-kick high into the stand before Andres Iniesta almost
charged down Abbiati's clearance in the six-yard box.

Valdes saved Pazzini's acrobatic
volley but at the other end, Iniesta fizzed a drive a foot or so wide
and Xavi curled a free-kick just over.

Head to head: Cesc Fabregas, is fouled by Boateng

Head to head: Cesc Fabregas, is fouled by Boateng

Ecstasy: Boateng celebrates after firing past Victor Valdes and in to the corner

Ecstasy: Boateng celebrates after firing past Victor Valdes and in to the corner

Rolling around: Messi (left) and Daniel Alves (right) lie on the pitch

Rolling around: Messi (left) and Daniel Alves (right) lie on the pitch

But it was Milan who found a second
goal with nine minutes remaining as substitute M'Baye Niang and El
Shaarawy combined to set up Muntari, who gave their beautiful approach
play the classy finish it deserved.

Carles Puyol, sporting a huge sticking
plaster on his forehead after a clash with Pazzini, headed Xavi's
corner wide as Barca sought an important away goal.

But it was in vain, with Milan in fact
having the best chance during five minutes of stoppage time as late
substitute Bakaye Traore wasted a three-on-two break.

Rough and tumble: The best player in the world could not help his side as they stumbled to a 2-0 defeat

Rough and tumble: The best player in the world could not help his side as they stumbled to a 2-0 defeat

That'll do: AC Milan's coach Massimiliano Allegri looks on as his team put on a show

That'll do: AC Milan's coach Massimiliano Allegri looks on as his team put on a show

Fun night: Mario Balotelli smiles, next to his girlfriend, model Fanny Robert Neguesha

Fun night: Mario Balotelli smiles, next to his girlfriend, model Fanny Robert Neguesha

Balotelli with his model girlfriend

Martin Samuel: Why Milton Keynes Dons methods could make us play like Brazil

Small is beautiful at Milton Keynes… and it could make us play like Brazil

Victory Shield. Seyi Ojo went to Liverpool at 14 for a reported 1.5million. They must be doing something right. What they are doing, it seems, is evolving ideas. Micciche experiments with pitch sizes, with team numbers.

Not in any conventional way. Small areas, small teams, is the modern concept, and that alone is progress.

The days of a 10-year-old standing forlornly in the same size goal as Petr Cech, barely able to clear his penalty area with a goal-kick in ankle-deep mud, are thankfully over.

Contrasting styles: Brazil (above) and England (below) prepare for Wednesday night's friendly

Contrasting styles: Brazil (above) and England (below) prepare for Wednesday night's friendly

Contrasting styles: Brazil (above) and England (below) prepare for Wednesday night's friendly

The Football Association has, at last, addressed the in-built flaws in youth football and we should feel the benefits over the next 10 years.

The popular wisdom favours small-sided games in tight spaces. The logic is irrefutable. Players get more touches, more shots, more runs and more scoring opportunities playing four versus four than 11 versus 11.

Their ball skills are improved by
technical five-a-sides, rather than a war of attrition on a man’s size
pitch that promotes only the most athletically dominant.

What Micciche is attempting is stage
two. In the dome at Woughton Park worlds collide. Micciche has his
Under 16 MK Dons team playing 11-a-side, but on a reduced pitch 60
yards long by 40 wide. He has cones on the touchline marking two
invisible offside lines to compress play into the middle third. There is
no time, there is no space. To survive in this game, you really have to
be able to play.

Coaching guru: Micciche's ideas have seen MK Dons' academy flourish

Coaching guru: Micciche's ideas have seen MK Dons' academy flourish

An MK Dons kid is trapped on the near
touchline, ball at his feet, two lads bearing down on him. He gets out
of it with a lovely reverse pass.

‘You see, that, to me, is a goal,’ Micciche says. ‘At this age, you can swing your boot and the ball goes in, and everyone says “well done”. But it’s not necessarily progress, there’s no development. To see him do that, inside, I feel like we’ve scored, because he wouldn’t have tried it six months ago.’

Micciche, as his name suggests, grew up watching Serie A football on a giant satellite dish at home. Roberto Baggio was his man. He is not as steeped in the blood and thunder of English football as his contemporaries.

It is no surprise, either, that he started at Crystal Palace where John Cartwright was academy manager.

Cartwright, now retired, has been
advocating variations of games played in tight spaces for a long time.
From Palace, Micciche moved to Tottenham Hotspur working with Chris
Ramsey before arriving at Milton Keynes under director of youth Mike
Dove, who gave him a blank canvas.

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There are five pitches of varying sizes at Woughton Park and academy players of all ages get to use every one. Team numbers vary, too. Each player gets a turn training and playing with boys between one and three years older, and all have a homework file with a list of improvements. The most radical thoughts, however, involve space.

‘A lot of coaches don’t like limiting the space,’ admits Micciche. ‘They think it looks messy. Sometimes it does because we’re asking a lot technically. You might not always get quality, but when you do it is the highest quality.

‘And when they go out onto a full-size pitch again, it feels as if they have got all the time in the world.’
We watched a game together. Milton Keynes Dons versus Forest School. Pitch dimensions of 60 x 40 yards, two quarters nine-a-side, two quarters 11-a-side to feel the difference.

Players who looked competent when the team numbers were reduced were suddenly tested as room on the pitch shrank. There was a surprising impact physically.

‘It speeds the game up, but players then need to hold off defenders because they haven’t the space to simply outrun them,’ Micciche explains. ‘Also, in order to work through a compact space, they will need to move their feet and body quickly.

‘The intensity is great so they need to react and think faster. It becomes exhausting, but it makes them clever at finding space.’

A shot rattles against a crossbar.

‘The game has shifted,’ Micciche continues. ‘Nobody gets the ball in splendid isolation any more. It’s like rush hour in midfield, you might get 20 players in 40 yards of space, and the defenders are as fast and athletic as the forwards.

‘We need to recreate what these players are going to face in the future.’

The last time Brazil visited England, in
2007, the performance of Kaka in the heart of the play stood out. No
matter how many opponents surrounded him, he demanded the ball and his
team-mates were happy to provide it. He always found a pass. Spain and
Barcelona have that same quality.

Star man: Kaka was outstanding for Brazil at Wembley in 2007

Star man: Kaka was outstanding for Brazil at Wembley in 2007

‘We fail under pressure,’ Micciche adds. ‘That is a fundamental problem in English football. Once the game becomes tight, our approach lets us down.’

The first time Micciche tried out his theories, the opponents were a big Championship club. ‘It was an Under 12 game, a friendly, and I brought the dimensions of the pitch in, used smaller goals,’ he recalls. ‘We were 4-1 down at half-time and a couple of our kids were in tears.

‘I said that this type of football was going to ask different questions of them, that they had to think about how they would answer those questions.

‘We turned it around, and won in the second half. The next day they put in a complaint about us.’

Perhaps that is why as well as the standard league fixtures — MK Dons win some and lose some, like all academy teams — Micciche is happy to accept fixtures from stronger clubs, strong schools or even good men’s amateur teams.

Quick thinking: Micciche advocates playing on pitches of different sizes to help youngsters develop

Quick thinking: Micciche advocates playing on pitches of different sizes to help youngsters develop

‘It is important to play in as many
types of football as possible, with and against players of different
strengths and abilities,’ he says. ‘You need to challenge them all the
time. Sometimes we won’t have as many players on the field as the
opposition, or I’ll take my Under 16s to play a proper men’s team.
People say, “you can’t do that” but they learn from it.’

It is possible that, after tonight, it will again be said that English footballers are inferior. That the technique of the Brazilians is a class away.

There will be analysis and much you will have heard before.

Too many foreign players in the Premier League, an absence of passion for international football. We could tuck it away in a file marked: The Usual.

So explain this. Increasingly, there are foreign coaches who have passed through the English game, like Gus Poyet at Brighton and Hove Albion or Roberto Martinez at Wigan Athletic.

Pointing the way: Roberto Martinez has brought fluid, passing football to Swansea and Wigan

Pointing the way: Roberto Martinez has brought fluid, passing football to Swansea and Wigan

And their teams play. Martinez is the father of modern Swansea City, Poyet has taken Brighton to the brink of the Championship play-off places.

Neither developed teams in the lower leagues that were stuffed full of foreign imports. They took local players and improved them technically.

Martinez signed Ashley Williams from Stockport County. Will Buckley, one of Brighton’s leading lights, came from Rochdale via Watford.

Martinez and Poyet encouraged bog standard Football League players to play a high quality game. So why can’t this be done in international football, with players of twice the ability No doubt we’ll be asking those questions later.

Although if we did it earlier, the answers might be easier to find.

Hypocrisy rules for forgetful Joey

Joey Barton was sent off for Marseille at the weekend and took to his favourite medium to voice his displeasure. ‘Players who roll around when nobody touches them should be banned,’ he wrote. ‘I hate cheats.’ Gervinho of Arsenal, sent off after Barton play-acted, may have views on this subject. And if he can stop laughing he will surely give them to us.

Crying wolf: Barton sees red for Marseille (above) ... just as Gervinho did for Arsenal in 2011

Crying wolf: Barton sees red for Marseille (above) … just as Gervinho did for Arsenal in 2011 (below)

Crying wolf: Barton sees red for Marseille (above) ... just as Gervinho did for Arsenal in 2011 (below)

Sturridge highlights our problem with diving

On television and in just about every newspaper, Daniel Sturridge was the man of the match after Liverpool’s draw with Manchester City. And he did have an outstanding game. He also, however, committed one of the most blatant dives of the season, for which he was booked. If that had been Luis Suarez, the chorus of disapproval would have been deafening.

Instead, Sturridge collected his bottle of champagne and his printed accolades without too much fuss. So let’s not pretend we really care about cheating in football. If it mattered to us, there is no way Sturridge could have been the hero.

(And one last thing, there was also no reason for Liverpool to put the ball into touch on Edin Dzeko’s behalf on Sunday. That Sturridge scored Liverpool’s first goal while the Manchester City striker lay stricken is of no consequence. He wasn’t seriously hurt and there was no fear of head trauma. If City had won possession and wanted to put the ball out, up to them. But Liverpool had every right to play to the whistle, and Roberto Mancini’s complaints are groundless).

Booked: Sturridge looks to the floor after taking a tumble against Man City

Booked: Sturridge looks to the floor after taking a tumble against Man City

Wolves must realise they're in a dogfight

As Wolverhampton Wanderers plummeted towards the Championship last season, chief executive officer Jez Moxey insisted the club had the foundations in place for success. ‘This season will not create a situation where we are knocked off course from our medium to long-term objectives,’ he soothed.

Objective No 1 was to establish Wolves in the Premier League. At last look, Wolves were two points off relegation from tier two, 21st of 24. They have been passed by Ipswich Town, managed by Mick McCarthy, the manager they sacked a year ago.

On the day McCarthy took over at Portman Road, Ipswich were bottom and Wolves eighth. Still, it’s good to know the executive management have a plan. Otherwise, it would be easy to imagine they don’t know what they are doing.

Alarming slide: Wolves are just two points clear of safety in the Championship

Alarming slide: Wolves are just two points clear of safety in the Championship

Lock up Gillingham yob and put the ref on gardening leave

There is a very simple solution to the attack on Wycombe Wanderers goalkeeper Jordan Archer at the Priestfield Stadium on Monday night. It’s called five years. If the punishment on the Gillingham fan who jumped Archer was appalling, nobody would ever do it again.

As for referee Roger East, who booked Archer for kicking the ball away in frustration, even though he showed admirable restraint towards the pitch invader in the aftermath, he should be given the rest of the season off to consider his actions. Anyone so out of touch with human emotion should not be in charge of anything more testing than the roses in his garden.

Attack: Jordan Archer was jumped by a teenage Gillingham 'fan'

Attack: Jordan Archer was jumped by a teenage Gillingham 'fan'

BCCI stoop to new low

Responding to the 2-1 home Test defeat, the Board of Control for Cricket in India have banned a group of English county players from gaining experience on the spinning wickets of the subcontinent. The Global Cricket School in Pune has been told that no foreign cricketers can use the facilities without permission. The performance of Joe Root in the final Test in Nagpur appears to have been the clincher. Lovely, aren’t they And yet still cricket kowtows to the BCCI.

Harry Redknapp blasts QPR players after losing to MK Dons in FA Cup

We were a disgrace: Redknapp blasts QPR's big-name failures for abysmal display against MK Dons

By
Ian Stafford

PUBLISHED:

19:27 GMT, 26 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:36 GMT, 26 January 2013

A furious and disbelieving Harry Redknapp surveyed the wreckage of QPR’s FA Cup humiliation at the hands of MK Dons and slammed the big stars who failed him.

Redknapp watched as his side — bottom of the Premier League — were crushed 4-2 at home by a team two divisions beneath them. In the day’s other fourth-round shock, Blue Square Premier League Luton Town beat Norwich 1-0 at Carrow Road.

‘I have big-name players who believe they’re better than they are, who bang on my door insisting that I should play them,’ said 65-year-old Redknapp.

Miserable: Harry Redknapp looks on as QPR are tonked by MK Dons

Miserable: Harry Redknapp looks on as QPR are tonked by MK Dons

‘Well, they had their chance and they
blew it. I made nine changes from the team who drew at West Ham last
week.

'This was a team that had gone five games unbeaten, that had won at
Chelsea and drawn against Spurs and West Ham, but even though I made
lots of changes I believed, absolutely, it was good enough to beat the
MK Dons.

‘I wanted to win, don’t get me wrong.
Look at the players I picked. We’re talking about signings from
Manchester United and Real Madrid in Park, Fabio and Granero.

'We’re talking about experienced pros
like Ferdinand, an England goalkeeper in Green. Surely they should have
been too good for a team two divisions below them.

'I thought we weren’t too bad up to
half time, but conceded two dreadfully sloppy goals. When we conceded
the third, which was offside, our confidence went completely.

'You can’t give away two such sloppy goals as we did. We created a mountain to climb that only got higher.

‘What it shows is that the result and
the performance answer a lot of questions. Not to me. I already knew
the answers, but to those who wanted to see certain players picked. They gave the answers.

‘I’m going to need to shift some
players out of this club this week and get a few in. If I can do that
we’ll stay in the Premier League. I’ll have the right hump now. I’ll be
no use to anybody.’

He does, however, have to find a way to lift his team before the visit of Manchester City on Tuesday night.

Good day out: MK Dons fans were delighted as their team powered through

Good day out: MK Dons fans were delighted as their team powered through

As bad as QPR were, MK Dons deserved a lot of credit for the way they frustrated their Premier League opponents.

A club-record away following of 3,155
headed to west London to witness a performance that filled manager Karl
Robinson with pride.

'We felt we could come here and get a result,' the Dons boss said. 'I understand the gulf in teams and I respect that as well.

'QPR
is a wonderful football club with one of the best English managers in a
long, long time so you always know the difficulties it that is going to
possess.

Let downs: Redknapp analysed where his squad had come from - Estenan Granero, for example, from Real Madrid

Let downs: Redknapp analysed where his squad had come from – Estenan Granero, for example, from Real Madrid

'It is nice to make it through. The players were fantastic and I thought they deserved the result.

'It was difficult for us in the first half. We had to sit off them and they have some top, top players.

'I thought the way they responded to going in front at a Premier League ground was great. They played with no fear.

'Getting into the fourth round was a little bit of history for us and now the fifth round makes it a little more special.'

Alex Ferguson rages at referee over Wayne Rooney penalty

Fergie fumes at officials after Rooney is denied penalty in dramatic Spurs draw

By
Mark Bryans, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:00 GMT, 20 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:27 GMT, 20 January 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson was left ruing a decision not to award his Manchester United side a penalty as they conceded an injury-time equaliser at Tottenham.

The visitors were leading 1-0 courtesy of a Robin van Persie header, his 18th Barclays Premier League goal of the season, when substitute Wayne Rooney went down under a challenge from Steven Caulker inside the box.

Referee Chris Foy declined to award a penalty and Spurs, who dominated the second half, eventually scored a dramatic 92nd-minute equaliser through Clint Dempsey.

Going down: Wayne Rooney appeared to be fouled by Steven Caulker but no penalty was awarded

Going down: Wayne Rooney appeared to be fouled by Steven Caulker but no penalty was awarded

Going down: Wayne Rooney appeared to be fouled by Steven Caulker but no penalty was awarded

Going down: Wayne Rooney appeared to be fouled by Steven Caulker but no penalty was awarded

United therefore had to settle for a five-point lead over champions Manchester City at the top of the table, and Ferguson was quick to direct his anger at assistant referee Simon Beck.

'It was a clear penalty,' he said. 'It was definitely a penalty. He has put his leg right in there.

'The linesman is facing it, I thought he had a very poor game, the linesman. I thought he was disappointing.

'We have got that history with him. He never gave offside with (Chelsea striker Didier) Drogba at Old Trafford when he was three yards offside. Everyone remembers that, I certainly do.'

The incident with Drogba came in a 2-1 win for Chelsea at Old Trafford in April 2010 and Ferguson felt his side had been let down again, with Rooney seemingly fouled only moments after replacing Shinji Kagawa.

'For me it was a poor performance from him, why he never gave a penalty I don't know,” Ferguson added. “I think he had a shocking game today, he's had a bad game and we never got anything from that side of the pitch.'

Come on! Rooney appeals to the linesman after he felt he was fouled in the box by Caulker

Come on! Rooney appeals to the linesman after he felt he was fouled in the box by Caulker

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas was unsure whether Caulker had caught Rooney, but did not want the argument to overshadow a tremendous performance and hard-fought point for his side.

'Obviously it is going to be debated and debated and I hope it doesn't mar the game,' he said.

''uring the game we got most of the decisions against us. I prefer to look at this game on my view and United prefer to look at it on their view.

'We take our boost of confidence and the debate is going to be whether it was a penalty because that is controversy and it sells better, but we shouldn't mar the game and the quality of the game played in these difficult conditions.

Rage: Alex Ferguson was furious with the linesman

Rage: Alex Ferguson was furious with the linesman

'Fortunately we got a point, I think it is credit for the game that we had. We were the best team and created the best chances.

'I think it was probably the worst United game in terms of opportunities, with them having only four. It is a pity we couldn't win but I'm extremely happy with the draw obviously.'

As for the title race, Villas-Boas still thinks it is too close to call.

'It is very tight between them,' he said. 'They are two strong teams with top quality squads and individuals. I think it is for either of the Manchester teams as the distance to third place is quite important.

'I'm not sure (who will win the league) but United have the experience that can help them.'

Ferguson believes his side have a good record against the bigger teams in the league and was always keen to play the game at White Hart Lane, despite snow falling throughout the day.

'We have been to all the top teams' grounds so far,” he said. “We just have Arsenal left and we think we can be pleased with the outcome of them all.

'We have got a healthy points total from them and it's another game out of the road.

'I wanted the game to go ahead today because we don't want a backlog and as it was, it proved I was right.'

Tito Vilanova returns to dugout as Barcelona win 4-0 against Espanyol

Vilanova returns to dugout as Messi gets his first of the year in 4-0 Barca win

PUBLISHED:

20:22 GMT, 6 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:02 GMT, 6 January 2013

Tito Vilanova returned to the Barcelona bench with the minimum of fuss tonight as his side got all of their work done inside the first 30 minutes of the Catalan derby.

Manager Vilanova, back at the helm after a brief spell out for surgery on his parotid gland after contracting cancer for the second time, was given the easiest of nights as his stellar cast of players made life comfortable for him.

They had scored all of their goals by the time the 30th minute ticked by and after that it was procession football, with Pedro twice denied a hat-trick by the offside flag while other chances also passed.

Back with a bang: Pedro Rodriguez scores past Kiko Casilla

Back with a bang: Pedro Rodriguez scores past Kiko Casilla

After Xavi had opened the scoring, Pedro then chimed in with his brace before Lionel Messi set off on his pursuit of 100 goals this year with a penalty.

The Argentinian scored a record-breaking 91 times in 2012 and is expected to go even further this time around. His only regret will be that he did not make the most of the leisurely second-half conditions.

The writing was on the wall for Javier Aguirre's side early on, with Xavi's goal setting the template for how Barca would play all night.

All together now: Barcelona's players celebrate their 4-0 win

All together now: Barcelona's players celebrate their 4-0 win

Messi slid a pass through to Andres
Iniesta on the left, the cut-back arriving for Xavi to tap in from close
range, and he opened his body slightly to make the finish.

Three minutes later Messi and Cesc
Fabregas combined to release Iniesta but he was denied by Francisco
Casilla, but the keeper could do nothing as Pedro got his first in the
15th minute.

Again it was from a cut-back, this
time from Fabregas, and at first it looked as though it was Messi`s
goal, with replays then showing Pedro got the slightest of touches to
his shot.

Good to be back: Tito Vilanova returned to the dug-out to see Barcelona win 4-0

Good to be back: Tito Vilanova returned to the dug-out to see Barcelona win 4-0

It was three with 27 minutes gone,
Pedro racing onto Sergio Busquets' defence-splitting pass and lobbing
Casilla, and the keeper was all at sea again a minute later as he
bundled over Fabregas as he went away from goal.

Messi duly stepped up and converted from the spot, the first goal of what will no doubt be many this year.

The brakes were applied a little after that, with Espanyol defending better and Barca not as incisive. Casilla denied

In the goals: Lionel Messi scored his first goal of 2013

In the goals: Lionel Messi scored his first goal of 2013

Fabregas and a flag denied Pedro a 65th-minute hat-trick when Fabregas, crossing after Messi`s pass, was called offside.

The same thing happened again with 17
minutes left as Pedro chipped wide to Alves and then followed in to
score from the cross, while Espanyol`s only real chance ended with
Victor Valdes saving from a clean-through Juan Albin.

Messi then rattled the bar with a
25-yard free-kick, but after such an early rush, there would be no more
goals as Barca restored their 16-point lead over Real Madrid.

Sir Alex Ferguson is right – offside law is stupid – Martin Keown

Why I'm seeing red over the stupid offside law (a bit like furious Fergie)

|

UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 28 December 2012

The fact that Newcastle's controversial goal was given at Old Trafford tells you that something needs to be done about the offside law. It is a disgrace, but it still doesn’t excuse Sir Alex Ferguson’s reaction.

My fellow Sportsmail columnist, former FIFA referee Graham Poll, keeps telling me that if a player doesn’t touch the ball, foul an opponent or obstruct the keeper’s vision, then he is not interfering with play according to the laws of the game.

There needs to be some common sense. If a striker is in your vicinity, as a defender you have to adjust your position and movement to make sure he can’t get near the ball. He affects your thought process so of course he is interfering.

Ref rage: Manchester United were furious at Mike Dean's decision to allow Jonny Evans' own goal

Ref rage: Manchester United were furious at Mike Dean's decision to allow Jonny Evans' own goal

Interfering with play Papiss Cisse (centre) was adjudged not to have impeded Evans (left)

Interfering with play Papiss Cisse (centre) was adjudged not to have impeded Evans (left)

Wrong net, Jonny: Evans' mistake shows that the offside law needs changing

Wrong net, Jonny: Evans' mistake shows that the offside law needs changing

Jonny Evans would not have been in the position he was or have stuck out his leg in the way that he did if Papiss Cisse wasn’t there. Cisse slightly blocked Evans getting across to intercept the shot and he ended up at a strange angle.

I can see why Sir Alex was so riled by the decision even if, as is usually the case this season, his team eventually won. You want to win at all costs and that sometimes makes you cross the line.

You’re an angry man until you win. I was sometimes and Sir Alex crossed the line in berating the officials during the second half against Newcastle.

He is an intimidating figure when he is let loose. I saw him barge into the referee and scream at him at half-time of the 1999 FA Cup semi-final. He told the referee he was a disgrace and it was the closest I got to seeing the hairdryer treatment.

At that moment I decided I would always be in and around him at half-time when I played against United so he couldn’t get to the referee, as I was worried the official would be affected. I used to feel I was playing against him, not his team at Old Trafford. He controls everything and that motivated me to beat them.

Sir Alex’s fury comes from his hunger to win. I imagine he has the same desire to win when he plays tiddlywinks with his grandson. Nobody is better at passing that hunger on to his team and by berating the officials, he creates a feeling that United have been wronged and that brings everyone together. It inspires them.

In this case it wasn’t right and, as an important public figure, he has a responsibility to keep a lid on his behaviour.

This season, United’s erratic form has meant he has crossed the line too often. Their performances have put him on the back foot. In previous years I wondered if there was still a touchline at Old Trafford because he was never on it. He just sat serenely in the dug-out. This season he is more animated; he’s kicking every ball and is involved in the drama. He probably wishes games were a lot calmer.

Carrick the pass master

Amid all the madness at Old Trafford these days, Michael Carrick has been an oasis of calm. I used to shout at the TV when I watched him play, urging him to play a forward pass. But these days he does just that and I can see why Fergie likes him.

Finally, Carrick seems to believe in himself. Almost everything he does is two-touch — one to control and one to pass — and he’s been making United tick for a long time. He reminds me of a top golfer, chipping the ball on to the green right next to the flag.

He’s finding team-mates with the right balls and the weight of the passes is perfect.

Midfield maestro: Michael Carrick pings another pinpoint pass for Manchester United

Midfield maestro: Michael Carrick pings another pinpoint pass for Manchester United

Whats the score

Cards

Boot room

Boot room

Boot room

Boot room

Boot room

Boot room

Boot room

Boot room

Boot room

Boot room

Sir Alex Ferguson hits back at criticism of his treatment of officials by slamming Newcastle manager Alan Pardew

Pardew's the worst! Ferguson hits back at criticism for haranguing officials with attack on manager of 'wee club' Newcastle

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UPDATED:

11:33 GMT, 28 December 2012

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Sir Alex Ferguson has launched a withering attack on Alan Pardew and Newcastle after the Manchester United manager was criticised for confronting referee Mike Dean during the Boxing Day clash at Old Trafford.

Ferguson was furious that Dean overruled his assistant and allowed Jonny Evans’ own-goal to stand because Papiss Cisse, standing in an offside position, was not interfering with play.

Pardew criticised Ferguson afterwards but the United boss hit back this morning, accusing his opposite number of hypocrisy after he shoved a linesman in a match with Tottenham in August and branding Newcastle ‘a wee club in the north-east’.

Angry protests: Sir Alex Ferguson remonstrates with referee Mike Dean after Jonny Evans put through his own net with Newcastle's Papiss Cisse apparently in an offside position during the Boxing Day match at Old Trafford

Angry protests: Sir Alex Ferguson remonstrates with referee Mike Dean after Jonny Evans put through his own net with Newcastle's Papiss Cisse apparently in an offside position during the Boxing Day match at Old Trafford

The worst: Ferguson claimed his Newcastle United counterpart Alan Pardew is the worst for haranguing officials

The worst: Ferguson claimed his Newcastle United counterpart Alan Pardew is the worst for haranguing officials

Point to make: Newcastle assistant manager John Carver gets in a barb at assistant Jake Collin as fourth official Neil Swarbrick restrains him

Point to make: Newcastle assistant manager John Carver gets in a barb at assistant Jake Collin as fourth official Neil Swarbrick restrains him

Ferguson said: ‘Alan Pardew has come
out and criticised me. Alan Pardew is the worst for haranguing referees.
His whole staff, every game. He was at it the whole game on Wednesday.

‘He shoved a linesman and makes a joke
of it, and then has the cheek to criticise me. Unbelievable. He forgets
the help I gave him by the way,

‘The press have had a good field day out of it. They’ve addressed every avenue, the only one left is Barack Obama.

‘It’s because I’m the manager of the
most famous club in the world. I’m not like Newcastle, a wee club in the
north east, but that’s life.’

Harangued: Ferguson also protested with assistant referee Jake Collin during the Boxing Day encounter

Harangued: Ferguson also protested with assistant referee Jake Collin during the Boxing Day encounter

Complaint: Ferguson has words with Mike Dean after a Jonny Evans own goal was allowed to stand despite Newcastle's Papiss Cisse standing in an offside position

Complaint: Ferguson has words with Mike Dean after a Jonny Evans own goal was allowed to stand despite Newcastle's Papiss Cisse standing in an offside position

Ferguson defended his protestations to
Dean and praised the referee for his handling of the incident in
United’s 4-3 win. The referee did not include it in his report so
Ferguson will not face any action from the FA.

‘There was no ranting and raving from
me,’ he added. ‘I was demonstrative, but I’m always demonstrative.
Everyone knows that, I’m an emotional guy. That isn’t to say I was
abusive to the referee, I wasn’t.

‘Some managers shove linesmen on the
pitch and make a joke. I’m not making a joke of this, it was serious
decision and I think it should have been disallowed.

Surrounded: Manchester United players Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra confront Mike Dean

Surrounded: Manchester United players Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra confront Mike Dean

‘He was walking towards the tunnel and
I shouted him over. He came over towards me and I came over towards
him. I wasn’t on the pitch for more than three or four yards and then we
walked together.

‘I thought the player was interfering
with play, Mike didn’t think it was. He handled it well because he’s a
mature, experienced referee.’

When managers collide…

Today's spat between Ferguson and Pardew is, of course, not the first time managers have been at loggerheads. It's not the first time the bosses of Manchester United and Newcastle have come to verbal blows either. Who can forget Kevin Keegan losing it live on air as Ferguson's mind games took their toll during the 1995-1996 title run-in…

And 20 years before that, there was no love lost between Brian Clough and Don Revie. Clough took over from Revie as manager of Leeds United in 1974 but lasted just seven weeks in the job. Never one to go quietly, he went head-to-head with his predecessor live on TV just after his dismissal.

Sir Alex Ferguson defends referee rant

Fergie stands by ref rant after United go clear with thrilling win over Newcastle

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UPDATED:

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

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 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

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 goal who scored the decisive goal in the 90th minute

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

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)

Dean received some flak for his decisions from players of both Manchester United (above) and Newcastle United (below)

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

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

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 after the extended their winless away run this season to nine games

Alan Pardew's (pictured) Newcastle side slipped to 15th in the table and are still without an away victory in nine attempts this season

Graham Poll: Manchester United v Newcastle United offside call was correct

Offside call that irked Fergie on Boxing Day was correct

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UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 26 December 2012

There was understandable confusion over Newcastle United’s second goal at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.

Papiss Cisse was clearly standing in an offside position when Danny Simpson crossed from the right. Assistant referee Jake Collin will have noticed that but did not flag immediately because being in an offside position alone is not an offence.

Outraged: Ferguson and his players were not happy with the decision

Outraged: Ferguson and his players were not happy with the decision

Outraged: Ferguson and his players were not happy with the decision

The ball was then diverted into his own goal by Jonny Evans and Collin, unsure of who had touched the ball or thinking Cisse had, raised his flag.

From his excellent central position, referee Mike Dean saw Cisse had not touched the ball, which he must do to be considered to be ‘interfering with play’ as the law requires.

For the goal to have been disallowed for offside, the Newcastle striker would have had to be deemed to be interfering with an opponent. This is nothing to do with affecting his positioning or making him play the ball. In this case it would have been standing in the line of vision between keeper David de Gea and the ball as Simpson crossed it.

GRAPHIC Offside call.jpg

Dean ruled he was not and, after discussion with Collin, let the goal stand. This was an excellent example of teamwork where different angles provided officials with the information needed to make the correct decision.

Javier Hernandez sends Manchester United seven points clear after another Sir Alex Ferguson ref rant

Hernandez sends United seven points clear after another Fergie ref rant… and Mancini lets rip after City crash

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UPDATED:

01:16 GMT, 27 December 2012

Manchester United opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League on a day of controversy and drama.

United came from behind to win – for the eighth time in the league this season – as a last-minute goal by Javier Hernandez, the Little Pea, gave Sir Alex Ferguson's team a 4-3 win over Newcastle at Old Trafford.

It's there: Javier Hernandez pounces to hit the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle

It's there: Javier Hernandez pounces to hit the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle

Ref rant: Sir Alex Ferguson had plenty to say to official Mike Dean

Ref rant: Sir Alex Ferguson had plenty to say to official Mike Dean

With Manchester City losing 1-0 at Sunderland – as Roberto Mancini claimed that referee Kevin Friend's decision making was affected by him 'eating too much' at Christmas – United are in a great position, though they must do without Wayne Rooney for three weeks because of a knee injury.

'That was a championship performance,' said an ecstatic Ferguson.

However, this was a day that will also be remembered for a rant by Ferguson at referee Mike Dean at the start of the second half that could see him report the United boss to the FA.

Ferguson was furious that Dean awarded a first-half goal for Newcastle even though visiting forward Papiss Cisse was in an offside position directly behind Jonny Evans as the United defender put through his own net.

Helpless: Jonny Evans (left) can only watch as he turns the ball into his own net

Helpless: Jonny Evans (left) can only watch as he turns the ball into his own net

Ferguson said: 'Cisse was interfering with play. Mike Dean didn't have a TV replay to look at but if that wasn't interfering with play, I don't know what is.'

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was angry at losing Vurnon Anita after a bad tackle by Antonio Valencia.

'I am upset with that tackle,' said Pardew. 'It will get lost. Maybe it wasn't malicious but we have lost a player.

'The own goal was fine. He wasn't interfering. It doesn't matter if he was 20 yards offside, he didn't touch the ball.'

Not you: Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart was beaten by Adam Johnson - his former team-mate

Not you: Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart was beaten by Adam Johnson – his former team-mate

Mancini was unhappy with his side's defeat, secured thanks to a goal from former City winger Adam Johnson.

And the Italian launched an extraordinary attack on referee Kevin Friend.

Mancini, who dismissed Sunderland as 'lucky', said: 'We deserved to win, we had a lot of chances, we played well but we didn't score and this is our problem. Last year we scored one, two or three goals every game, but now when we have chances we are too soft. We are too soft in attack.

'We know United is a fantastic team and probably they can win every game, but the season is long and it's not important . . . six or seven points.

Unhappy chappy: Roberto Mancini did not have an enjoyable afternoon at the Stadium of Light

Unhappy chappy: Roberto Mancini (right) did not have an enjoyable afternoon at the Stadium of Light

'Sunderland are really lucky against us at home. We created 15 to 20 chances, this year, last year and the year before and then we lose the game.'

Mancini refused to blame Joe Hart for the winner from Johnson – whom he sold to Sunderland for 10million – which appeared to deceive the England keeper.

But he was less charitable with his assessment of Friend, who he believed missed a foul by Craig Gardner on Pablo Zabaleta in the build-up to the goal.

Remember me Johnson (2nd right) is congratulated after coming back to haunt his old employers

Remember me Johnson (2nd right) is congratulated after coming back to haunt his old employers

'The referee, he ate too much for Christmas,' he said. 'I do not know how he could miss this. He was not in good form. Him and the linesman, I think after Christmas it can happen, they can do a bad performance like today.'

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill said: 'We were terrific and I am not bothered what Mancini had to say. He said it when we won last season, and when we drew 3-3 at their place.

'Considering the opposition, I think that is the best we have played this season.'