Premier League – Managers: Fergie slams stars

Reaction from around the Premier League, with Alex Ferguson admitting Manchester United deserved nothing from their game at Fulham.

Fulham 2-0 Manchester United

Roy Hodgson: “I thought we were very good in the first-half, I thought we really played well – probably as well I’ve seen us play certainly against top class opposition. Obviously aided by the fact Paul Scholes handled Zamora’s header and that made life much harder for United from the outset – having to play with 10 men. I thought in the second half United came out very well. They took the game to us even though they had a man less. They pressurised us so much better in the second half and we have got goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to thank.”

Alex Ferguson: “They were lively and got stuck in and we respect that – they lost 4-0 to us a couple of weeks ago. But it’s disappointing we didn’t meet the challenge. If you lose games in March and April it can cost you. Fortunately we have a slender lead at the moment but not a lot and I’m hoping we come back from the internationals back to our best. Did (Rooney) throw the ball at the referee? The ball was thrown direct to where the free-kick was being taken – did it hit the referee? No. He threw it because he wanted to get the game going. What can you say about that? But there’s no point talking about the referee – we didn’t play well enough to win the game in the first half and that’s why we lost it.”

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Chelsea

Harry Redknapp: “(Luka Modric) is special and has amazing ability. He’s not a lightweight either – I thought he was a bit of an Eyal Berkovic but he’s physically stronger. He can mix it with the big boys and he’s a top-class player. That’s 18 points from nine games so we’re playing as well as anyone. It wasn’t that I disrespected the UEFA Cup – we were in a relegation battle and the Carling Cup final. I had to prioritise, if we had been in the top half we would have gone for it.”

Guus Hiddink: “When you’re chasing you have to win your games but to lose the goal as we did in the 10 minutes after half-time, with so many professionals and internationals, is bad for us. You have to know, when there is a fire in the kitchen, when to flood that fire. We talked about that at half-time, we knew they would come at us from the start and we emphasised that but it was very sloppy defending for their goal. (Heurelho) Gomes made one world-class save, and that saved the game, but after that it was over. We had pressure but we were reacting to them.”

Newcastle United 1-3 Arsenal

Chris Hughton: “It’s tough to take. Their second goal was the pivotal moment and from then on we saw Arsenal’s quality. We’re in trouble and it’s going to be a dog fight to end of the season. We are well aware of the position. (Regarding his position as caretaker manager:) The chairman came down to see the staff after the game, but that’s normal. I’ve had no indication that anything will change.” .

Arsene Wenger: “I saw the other results and thought it was a good opportunity for us to take advantage and close on the top of the table. Now we want to fight on and finish as close as we can to the team that finishes top. We have a very, very young side and they are improving from game to game. The spirit is great and we showed today that the quality is there. People don’t realise how young we are. Here we had six or seven players who are aged between 20 and 22 and we feel we can go forward from game to game.”

Portsmouth 2-1 Everton

Paul Hart: “I’m more confident than I was prior to the game (about staying up) but it’s going to be a long haul and to think that we’ve cracked it would be showing complacency. We’ve got a lot to do. The players have proved how desperate they are to stay in this division. The desire to win that game after a poor start, I thought we were excellent. We got it together, composed ourselves and started to play. I’ve seen (Peter Crouch) since he was 16 and I’ve got nothing but admiration for him. He plays at the sharp end of the team and he does a great job.”

David Moyes: “When we got in front we should have been going for a second goal instead of handing the initiative back to Portsmouth. We lacked spirit and punch throughout the match. It was one of those games, I just didn’t feel as if I could see those qualities. I don’t think it should have been a corner in the build-up to their second goal but we still failed to defend it. This game has been a big disappointment, but the previous 17 or 18 were not too bad.”

Blackburn Rovers 1-1 West Ham United

Sam Allardyce: “We feel bitterly disappointed we have not got three points and in many ways that is our fault but it is also the fault of the referee’s assistant and it is a hard one to take. We had two goals disallowed for offside but unfortunately the key area lies with the West Ham goal which nobody can argue is not offside – and we don’t know why the referee has not given it (as he was) in such a good position. What can be done about it? Nothing. But I have to express my disapproval publicly because we are in a very difficult position and we can’t afford to have major decisions going against us.”

Gianfranco Zola: “When you have got a big team like they are who boom balls into the box it is not easy for anybody. My team were excellent really and it is a pity we did not have the extra strength that might have allowed us to cause them a few more problems. But it was a close game and both teams could have won it. (Kieron Dyer is) brilliant. I’m very pleased for him. He’s a player who can make a big difference, especially in games like this. He has two more weeks to prepare himself and maybe next time he will play for longer.”

Stoke City 1-0 Middlesbrough

Tony Pulis: “We worked very hard today, Middlesbrough are a good side with some very good individual players. They have been in the Premier League a long time and have quality so we had to be patient and stick in there and a clean sheet was enormous for us. That is the first time we have scored direct off a long throw since the beginning of the season. I think we scored eight in 13 or 14 games and after that it dried up so we are oiling Rory up again to make sure we get that quality. It is a great weapon.”

Gareth Southgate: “It is irrelevant how I am, it is about keeping this club in the division. I accept there is going to be anger. I knew if we won we would be applauded off and if we lost I’d get a load of abuse. You accept that is part and parcel of the job in the modern world. We have to take that. We are where we are over 30 games because that is where we deserve to be. I’m not going to hide from that. We have eight games to save ourselves and it is possible. It is a huge ask now as today was a huge blow to us but teams have got out of this situation before and we have to take hope from that.”

West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Bolton Wanderers

Tony Mowbray: “These are the sort of games we were hoping to win. We didn’t. We are disappointed. But what do you want me to say – ‘Yes, it’s over’ or ‘No, it’s not over’? We play the next game. It is against Stoke. We are disappointed today. It was a strange game. They probably had more threatening moments in the game through the way they play. Yet, I felt for long spells we controlled the game. We went a bit cavalier at the back after taking the two full-backs off and we nearly got the win but it wasn’t quite to be.”

Gary Megson: “I quite rightly got sent off for getting the a*** with the referee. I told the linesman three or four minutes beforehand that we wanted to get Ebi Smolarek on the pitch at the next break in play. As soon as the ball went out I thought ‘here we go’ and they took the throw and carried on and I just got the hump and got myself sent off. I have apologised to Howard Webb. I shouldn’t be like that but you get carried away. I am not pleased with a point. I thought we were well on top. I can’t remember them having a shot on target.”

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