Manchester City executive Patrick Vieira made controversial comments regarding Manchester United yesterday, claiming that the red devils receive preferential treatment from referees in their matches.
His comments were made following United's 1-0 win against Fulham, which saw United scrape the victory even though Fulham should have been awarded a penalty by referee Michael Oliver after Michael Carrick clipped the heel of Danny Murphy in the box. Fulham manager Martin Jol said of the incident after the match: "We expected a penalty to be given but it takes a very brave referee to give one against United at Old Trafford."
Vieira's thoughts echo Jol's, with him stating: "When United play at home they get some advantage that other teams don't get. When you go to United, Madrid, Barcelona or Milan, it's always difficult for the referee to go against these kind of teams. It's something teams who are used to winning get all the time."
Viera later insisted that his comments were not intended to directly insult United, but they were enough to annoy Rio Ferdinand who tweeted: "Why is Vieira so concerned with Man Utd…. 2 comments in a week or so….c'mon maaaaaan let it go!"
Vieira had previously angered United manager Sir Alex Ferguson with comments he made regarding Ferguson's re-hiring of 37-year-old veteran Paul Scholes, branding the move "desperate". Ferguson retaliated by bringing up Mancini's reappointing of Carlos Tevez in the first-team squad, which provoked Vieira to respond by saying that club was "glad" that Tevez was back.
City now sit 3 points behind United in the league table with just eight games to go, but Vieira is adamant that the blues can win it: "This is our moment," he said. "We've been the best team since the start of the season and played the best football."But when you are first you have the advantage, so United are favourites."