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02/03/2011 10:53

Papers: Ref got it wrong

Ex-referee Graham Poll writes in the Daily Mail...

Referee Atkinson got the big calls wrong
Referees are remembered for their big decisions in big games. Unfortunately Martin Atkinson got some wrong on Tuesday night and they cost Manchester United. Atkinson failed to deliver consistency in similar incidents, the basic requirement for match officials. In the first half, Manchester United were denied a penalty when John Terry handled a shot from distance. Although his hands were by his side, the ball travelled a long way and Terry ensured that the ball did not pass - a clear offence. Nothing was given. However, when Yury Zhirkov took the opportunity to go over Chris Smalling's outstretched leg, Atkinson had no hesitation in awarding the home team a spot kick. It was soft, but just about the correct call. An even clearer example came when David Luiz deliberately tripped Wayne Rooney off the ball - a clear cautionable offence. As he had already been cautioned, Luiz should have been dismissed. Nemanja Vidic was not afforded such tolerance later in the game.

Is Poll right? Watch the incidents in our free video and form your own view.

Carlo Ancelotti has ruled out Chelsea winning the title, despite their win over the Reds, while The Guardian’s Paul Hayward says the trophy is United’s but “the easy days are over”. Meanwhile, Andy Carroll could make his Liverpool debut against the Reds on Sunday after taking part in a full training session on Tuesday.

The Daily Mail links United to a £600,000 compensation package for Anderlecht winger Adnan Januzaj, a 16-year-old Belgian dubbed ‘the next David Beckham’. The paper says that United have been given permission to speak to Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, if an ‘acceptable’ written offer is submitted for the 24-year-old.

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