Fergie fury over Evans own-goal decision
Sir Alex Ferguson defended his decision to give referee Mike Dean a half-time blast of his hairdryer before Manchester United sealed a come-from-behind 4-3 win.
Ferguson first rounded on Dean, then fourth official Neil Swarbrick before finally launching into assistant referee Jake Collin over Newcastle's second, an own-goal from Jonny Evans, which he was convinced should not have been allowed to stand.
"The referee changed the linesman's mind," said Ferguson after Collin had flagged for offside against Papiss Cisse, only to get over-ruled after Evans turned home Danny Simpson's cross. "He said it was an own goal. But if you see it again, and the referee can't, the guy is in an offside position, then he pulls Evans' arm."
He added: "If that is not interfering what is? I think it was a bad decision."
Yet former World Cup official Graham Poll had already taken to Twitter to insist Dean was correct, and Newcastle chief Alan Pardew also agreed. "It doesn't matter who is offside, he could be 20 yards offside if the defender sticks it in," Pardew said. "I don't know if the striker got a touch before the defender but I don't think so. I can't see a problem with it."
The Premier League also confirmed that "as Cisse did not play the ball, then he was not interfering with play". They also stated that: "It is also the case that Cisse didn't interfere with the opponent."
Javier Hernandez's last-minute winner gave United victory from a game when they had trailed three times, and took them seven points clear of Manchester City. Three times Newcastle led, through James Perch, Evans and Cisse, only for Evans, Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie, with his 16th goal of the season, to respond.
Hernandez struck in the dying seconds to ensure United will be top on New Years' Day no matter what the outcome of matches against West Brom and Wigan.
"I wish it was the last game of the season," said Ferguson. "It tells you about the courage of our team though. We had a lot of bad decisions against us in the first-half. That could have demoralised the team. But they didn't give in. That is the great quality they have.
"We were down three times and came back three times, then we scored the winner. It is a really significant result for us. It puts us in a good position."