Ferguson sympathises with Houllier over controversial penalty

LONDON: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said he understood exactly how Liverpool rival Gerard Houllier was feeling following the penalty that cost the Merseysiders victory away to Arsenal on Sunday. 

Liverpool were all set for their first win in nine league matches when the champions former Everton striker Francis Jeffers fell in the box after being challenged by John Arne Riise. 

Television replays suggested only the slightest, if indeed any, contact had taken place. 

But referee Jeff Winter, whose award of a penalty at the other end had helped put Liverpool 1-0 ahead, ordered a spot-kick from which Thierry Henry equalised. 

Afterwards a furious Houllier accused Jeffers of “conning” Winter. 

“I can understand why Gerard was so angry,” Ferguson said Monday. 

“We hoped that Liverpool would win yesterday and I thought they were desperately unlucky not to do so.” 

The result left leaders Arsenal five points clear or both United and Chelsea. 

Arsenal face London rivals Chelsea in their next league match, at Highbury, on Wednesday while United face strugglers Sunderland at Old Trafford. – AFP 

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