Manchester United were hugely unlucky not to take three points from their Barclays Premier League tussle with Newcastle United - that is the view of Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who praised his players' spirited performance.

A controversial Demba Ba penalty awarded midway through the second half was enough to draw Alan Pardew's Magpies side level, after Javier Hernandez gifted the reigning champions the lead shortly after the break.

"It was a fantastic performance from us," said Ferguson. "Alan Pardew said Newcastle were the better team in the first half - I don't know what game he was at!

"Chicharito had four clear chances and we played some great football. The second half was just an onslaught and to not get three points from that is just a travesty.

"I'm not concerned if we're playing like that. Most of the time, we'd score three or four goals in that game. Their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves, there were shots blocked, cleared off the line and we had one or two bad misses. So it's just an incredible result."

Reflecting on the penalty decision when Rio Ferdinand was adjudged to have fouled Hatem Ben Arfa inside the area, Ferguson was clearly upset.

"I think it was everyone's view [that it was a fair tackle], including the referee as he thought Rio won the ball because he gave the corner kick," he continued. "He let the assistant referee over-rule him.

"We had a situation a few weeks ago when the linesman gave a penalty kick to Sunderland for handball [against Nemanja Vidic].

"The referee [that day] was put in a terrible quandary in between what to do as he knew fine well it wasn't a penalty and over-ruled his linesman. It's what the referee should have done today.

"Give credit to Newcastle but we absolutely slaughtered them and we just couldn't get the result. It's disappointing in that respect but, if we play like that every week, I'll be very happy."

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