Manchester United go clear at the top

Manchester United have beaten Fulham 1-0 on Monday night but go back top of the Premier League, opening up a three-point gap over Manchester City.

Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the game just before half time to give the champions a vital victory, but the Cottagers were aggrieved that they were not awarded a penalty.

Michael Carrick appeared to foul Danny Murphy in the Red Devils’ box, but referee Michael Oliver did not award the visitors a spot kick.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that Fulham could have had a penalty, but that the hosts were denied one too.

“I think they had a claim, no doubt,” he told Sky Sports.

“I think maybe the referee’s been a bit lenient when we had a claim for a penalty kick in the first half. It was a clear handball. It was maybe close to the attacker, but it was a claim.

“Patrice Evra thought it was a stonewall penalty. He thought he handled it and was denied an opportunity.

“Certainly Michael Carrick has caught Danny Murphy’s heel as he came back,” he admitted.

Martin Jol also believed that his side should have had a penalty, which may have given them something from the game.

“I feel it was a difficult decision, but it always is with a penalty,” he said in his post-match interview.

“I think if he had given the penalty he would have had to send Michael Carrick off.

“I think everyone in the stadium expected a penalty to be honest.

“This is not the first time, especially not for me, and they have experienced it as well you have to be brave to give a penalty away at Man United and that is the only disappointment we’ve got.

“I have to say compliments to them [his players] especially we stuck to everything we said before and we could have had a result and I think they were pretty nervous at the end,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight