Sir Alex Ferguson blasted Andy Carroll after the bustling centre-forward flattened David De Gea in Manchester United’s draw to West Ham.
Robin van Persie lashed home late on in answer to Mohamed Diame’s stunning finish after Antonio Valencia levelled up an early header from Ricardo Vaz Te in the first-half.
But Ferguson leaped to the defence of his goalkeeper, believing Liverpool loanee Carroll should have received his marching orders for his hefty challenge just before half-time.
“You hope for a strong referee but I’m not so sure we got that – I think it’s obviously a red card,” the Scot told Sky Sports.
“We know how West Ham play, the ball’s in the air most of the time and you have to defend those things – they were very aggressive.”
However, Ferguson paid tribute to the resilience of the De Gea – who continued the game – claiming he has toughened up enough for the Premier League.
“David has been improving all the time,” he said. “He’s developed into a fantastic goalkeeper and it’s just down to more experience in the English game.
“He’s got stronger, his training performances are very good and he’s now shown that again.”
The gap at the top of the Premier League is down to 13 points after Manchester City – who have a game in hand – struck late against Wigan Athletic through Carlos Tevez.
However, after a bruising game at Upton Park, Ferguson insisted a draw was good enough as United came from behind twice to take a point back to Old Trafford.
“We had to stand up to a lot there, but we kept going and our players came back twice,” he added.
“I think we played like champions – magnificent, in terms of determination and courage.
“We had a determination to win as we don’t like losing. I think their goalkeeper (Jussi Jaaskelainen) saved them in the last 20 minutes and we just couldn’t finish them off.“
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