Sir Alex Ferguson does not expect Manchester United to be successful in their attempt to get Darren Fletcher's Champions League final ban overturned.

Fletcher was sent off by Italian referee Roberto Rosetti during the semi-final win over Arsenal after sending Cesc Fabregas flying inside the penalty area, but replays indicated the midfielder won the ball. There is no appeals process, United have now written to UEFA, pleading Fletcher's case on compassionate grounds.

But Ferguson said: "I am not optimistic at all. We have to do it for Darren and sometimes in these situations, you never know. But I don't think it will be overturned. The referee made an honest decision."

The calm way Fletcher dealt with the decision, which is only made worse by the fact he was an unused substitute in last season's penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea, contrasted sharply with the scenes witnessed at Stamford Bridge 24 hours later, for which Didier Drogba has apologised.

"Darren is quite a placid lad," said Ferguson.

"He is not an over-emotional boy. He just accepts it. He takes great credit for the way he handled it.

"I honestly believed the referee made the right decision at the time. From his angle - and from mine - it looked like a penalty.

"It was only when I saw the replay that I saw that Darren had managed to get his leg round Fabregas and flick the ball away.

"Darren is an honest player, so honest if he had been an old stager he would probably have let him go on and score. But he was still determined to try and do his job and prevent a goal. In the process he gave away a penalty."

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