Ferguson denies Chelsea penalty protests

Sir Alex Ferguson has scoffed at Chelsea’s claims for a late penalty in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.United defender Patrice Evra appeared to drag Ramires to the turf inside the box in second-half injury time, but referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco waved away the Chelsea’s penalty pleas in front of their home fans at Stamford Bridge.

Ferguson’s men held on for a 1-0 lead, with Wayne Rooney’s 24th-minute strike all that separated the two sides at the final whistle on Wednesday.

Ferguson said he believed Brazil midfielder Ramires, who arrived from Benfica last August, was guilty of an opportunistic tumble.

“It looked as if the boy made the most it,” Ferguson said. “I haven’t seen the replay yet but it’s a break, the first we have had here for seven years.”

The Scot emphasised the importance of the result, which sees the Red Devils head into the return leg at Old Trafford next Tuesday with a handy away-goal advantage.

“I thought our players were great. Keeping a clean sheet was important.”

“Wayne Rooney was in tremendous form and has given us a really great opportunity to get to the semi-final. He was excellent. He got a lot of abuse tonight, late tackles, but got up and played.”

“We have got an advantage but the biggest advantage we have got is Old Trafford. I am banking on that.”