Sir Alex Ferguson has launched a blistering attack on Alan Wiley, accusing the Staffordshire official of "not being fit enough" to do his job.
Wiley, the fourth official for last month's controversial Manchester derby, was in charge at Old Trafford as an injury-time own-goal from Anton Ferdinand gave United a point against Sunderland in a 2-2 draw. Ferguson claimed Wiley had not played the correct amount of added time because he had failed to add on an additional minute to the four already signalled once United scored.
"I was disappointed with the referee," said the United boss. "He didn't add on any time for the goal. He played four minutes and two seconds."
He added: "He was also walking up the pitch for the second goal needing a rest. He was not fit enough for a game of that standard.
"The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit. It is an indictment of our game.
"You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher's dogs. We have some who are fit. He wasn't fit.
"He was taking 30 seconds to book a player. He was needing a rest. It was ridiculous."
Whatever the merits of Ferguson's argument, he will have succeeded in taking the spotlight away from his side, who were indebted to Patrice Evra's deflected shot after they had produced probably their worst performance of the season, with Ben Foster again at fault for the second-half header from Kenwyne Jones that looked like being the winner.
"It was a soft goal to lose," admitted Ferguson. "Our passing was very poor in the first half. In the end we needed to show some great qualities to get something out of the game on a day when we played really badly."
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