Ferguson turns up heat on Benitez

Ferguson attacks ‘arrogant’ Benitez

Sir Alex Ferguson is showing no sign of letting up in his war of words with Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez.

The two have been verbally sparring since January and in Ferguson’s latest outburst the Scot blasted Benitez for labelling Everton as a “small club”.

“Everton are a big club, not a small one which Benitez arrogantly said,” said the Manchester United boss.

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has also criticised Benitez, but the Spaniard has “laughed off” the duo’s attacks.

Ferguson was unhappy about the way Benitez appeared to dismiss Blackburn once Liverpool scored their second goal in their 4-0 win on Saturday.

“Arrogance is one thing. You cannot forgive contempt, which is what he showed Sam Allardyce last weekend,” said Ferguson, speaking ahead of United’s FA Cup semi-final with Everton at Wembley on Sunday.

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“When Liverpool scored their second goal he signalled as if the game was finished. I do not think Sam deserved that.

“Sam has worked so hard for the LMA (League Managers’ Association) and he’s had a weakened team. I just thought it showed contempt.

“In my experience no Liverpool manager has ever done that. It was beyond the pale.”

Allardyce, preparing his team for a visit to Stoke this weekend, expressed his displeasure with Benitez, describing his actions as “unfortunate gestures after Liverpool’s second goal”.

The Blackburn boss saw the incident as “pretty dismissive to me and Blackburn – disrespectful and quite humiliating”.

Allardyce added: “The game is hard enough without a fellow manager making an undermining gesture.”

Following Liverpool’s victory over Rovers, the Reds temporarily sat at the summit of the Premier League ahead of United, with Benitez claiming Ferguson was “nervous”.

However, the Red Devils bounced back to defeat Sunderland 2-1 thanks to a late Federico Macheda winner, helping them to return to top spot with seven games remaining – one more than Liverpool.

After being dumped out of the Champions League by Chelsea in midweek, Liverpool’s next league game is against Arsenal on Tuesday, while United play Portsmouth the following day.

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