Papers: Cup KO ref returns
'Robber' ref to face Fergie once more
Referee Martin Atkinson will find himself under intense scrutiny at Old Trafford tonight after being handed a Manchester United game for the first time since being described as a 'robber' by the Barclays Premier League champions more than nine months ago. Sir Alex Ferguson's United side face Middlesbrough in the League tonight desperate for three points to keep in touch with leaders Liverpool, who won 5-1 at Newcastle United yesterday. The appointment of Atkinson will certainly bring an extra edge to the game in the wake of events at Old Trafford following United's 1-0 FA Cup quarter-final. After seeing his team crash out of the Cup at home, United's then assistant manager Carlos Queiroz described the official as 'a robber' while Ferguson himself suggested 'that performance should not be accepted'. - Ian Ladyman and Colin Young, Daily Mail
Sir Alex is quoted on more current affairs in other newspapers, with the Daily Star
('Back us in title race') and Daily Mirror
('We're winners and we won't wobble') reporting his 'warning' to current league leaders Liverpool.
Paul Scholes also comments on league matters, feeling United will benefit from a more normal second half to the season (Telegraph
) and three home games in hand against Middlesbrough, Wigan and Fulham ('Scholes feeling at home', The Sun