Fergie to avoid FA censure

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will not be punished by the Football Association following his criticism of referee Martin Atkinson after Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.

Ferguson saw red after Atkinson awarded the home side a controversial free-kick following Darren Fletcher's challenge on Ashley Cole which led to John Terry heading home a 76th-minute winner.

To compound the matter in Ferguson's eyes, an offside Didier Drogba then appeared to pull down Wes Brown before Terry diverted Frank Lampard's free-kick into the back of the net.

Ferguson has regularly rounded on referees this season both in the Premier League and Europe but will not be punished by the FA following his latest outburst.

"You lose faith in refereeing, that's the way the players see it," fumed the veteran Scot."The referee's position to make the decision (for the goal) was absolutely ridiculous.

"He can't see anything. It was a bad decision."

Speaking about the situation in the title race, Ferguson offered a more measured assessment of the state of play following the defeat at Stamford Bridge.

"The fact is Chelsea go five points clear of us," he added. "The defeat to Liverpool (last month) didn't affect our position in the league. If we'd have won today we'd have gone top."

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