• Premier League

United give media a wide berth after Anfield defeat

March 6, 2011
Sir Alex Ferguson's fall-out with the media has reached new heights © Getty Images

Manchester United failed to provide any post-match interviews after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday, with Sir Alex Ferguson and assistant Mike Phelan refusing to speak to the media.

The blackout denied the club a chance to vent their anger over Jamie Carragher's reckless challenge that saw United winger Nani leave the pitch on a stretcher with an open wound on his left shin. Nani jumped to his feet to show referee Phil Dowd the injury and call for Carragher's dismissal before collapsing in pain before being carried off.

United fullback Rafael was then caught with high studs from Maxi Rodriguez moments before launching into a dangerous tackle of his own. In the push-and-shove that followed, the second in two minutes, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez tugged on Rafael's generous mop of hair.

All four incidents could easily have resulted in red cards had Dowd not adopted a lenient approach for a traditionally fiery fixture. A member of United's staff posted a picture of the gash on Nani's leg on Twitter, but that was the end of the discussion about the Carragher tackle, which the defender apologised for after the match.

Ferguson cancelled his pre-match briefing on Friday in protest at the coverage given to his post-match quotes at Chelsea on Tuesday that have landed him with an improper conduct charge, plus the furore that surrounded Wayne Rooney's elbowing of Wigan's James McCarthy last weekend.

In a pre-planned move, United also blanked the media Sunday. Ferguson did not speak to host broadcaster Sky Sports, either before or after his side's third Premier League defeat of the season.

Phelan did not carry out his usual post-match engagements with the BBC, arranged due to Ferguson's long-standing feud with the organisation, while radio rights holders talkSPORT were also left without any comment from the visitors.

Should any of these organisations complain to the Premier League, the governing body will be forced to act, escalating the problem between Ferguson and the BBC, with the fines for his non-compliance still waiting to be made public.

And for the first time since 2005, even United's own television channel, MUTV, left a senior game without any reaction, which is an embarrassing situation in itself.

It is not yet known whether the media blackout will continue this week, ahead of United's FA Cup quarter-final with Arsenal, although discussions are bound to take place behind the scenes.

The only comments came via a club spokesman, who confirmed Nani will be assessed on Monday before the extent of his injury is known, and Rio Ferdinand, who was not even at Anfield, but offered an opinion via Twitter.

"Bad result today no excuses,'' the England skipper stated on the social networking site.

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