• Champions League

'Distraught' Fergie shuns press conference

ESPN staff
March 5, 2013
Cristiano Ronaldo netted Real Madrid's winner at Old Trafford © Getty Images

Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan admitted Sir Alex Ferguson was "not in a fit state'' to question why Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir sent Nani off at Old Trafford as the manager did not show up for his press conference.

From a position of some promise, 2-1 up on aggregate after Sergio Ramos' own goal, 10-man United were dumped out of the Champions League as Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo scored to take Real Madrid into the quarter-finals.

United were seething at Cakir's decision to red card Nani for a high tackle on Alvaro Arbeloa, a decision with which former United skipper Roy Keane agreed.

Rio Ferdinand applauded the official sarcastically after the final whistle, while a clearly incensed Ferguson took the unprecedented step of avoiding media duties, presumably for fear of what he might say.

"The manager is not in fit state to talk to the referee about the decision,'' Phelan said. "It speaks volumes that I am sat here. We are all witnesses to a decision that seemed very harsh, and incredible at that moment in the game.

"We had a massive audience around the world with people watching in how many countries I do not know, and everybody will be sitting there wondering what happened. A great performance was marred by one decision."

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