Ferguson: Young is not a diver

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Ashley Young may look like someone who goes down too easily, but the Manchester United boss claims he is not a diver.

An unfair penalty and an unfair sending off...

A week after Young was embroiled in a spot-kick row against QPR, he was at the centre of more controversy in the 4-0 win over former club Aston Villa.

Referee Mark Halsey decided the contact as Young attempted to step inside Ciaran Clark was worthy of a penalty just six minutes into the Old Trafford encounter.

Villa boss Alex McLeish disagreed, a view shared by many others, including Newcastle's Ryan Taylor, who was particularly outspoken on Twitter.

Ferguson felt it was a penalty but conceded Young had gone looking for it and, when asked directly whether the winger might be seen as someone who goes down too easily, Ferguson responded on MUTV: "I think in that situation, in the last week or two, yeah.

"I have never seen that in him. It is not an habitual thing with him. He was brought down. He just made the most of it.

"But he definitely brought him down. There was contact. He has bought the fact that Ashley jinked inside him.

"He has gone down quite easily but it was a penalty. He was definitely brought down."

McLeish's mind wandered back to an incident at Anfield last weekend when youngster Samir Carruthers went down under Daniel Agger's tackle and was booked for diving.

"We had a young player got booked for diving at Liverpool last week when it should have been a penalty," he said. "It looks as if he is a diver because they have said he was simulating.

"It is hard to say to the ref that he totally got it wrong because it is a split-second. But I didn't think it was a penalty.

"Ashley threw his leg into Ciaran Clark's leg and Ciaran was static. He planted his feet firmly on the ground. He then tries to pull his leg away.

"Some other people may disagree but I felt it was a very soft decision."

The incident provided the major talking point of a one-sided contest that never threatened to increase any nerves triggered by a combination of that shock midweek defeat at Wigan and Manchester City's return to top form.

Wayne Rooney sent Shay Given the wrong way from the spot and took his tally for the season to 31 in the second half after Danny Welbeck had taken advantage of Nathan Baker's defensive blunder just before the break.

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Not that Ferguson was entirely impressed with Rooney, who struggled for long periods despite his telling contribution on the scoresheet.

"He was careless," Ferguson added. "Wayne has to play on the edge of a game, when it is really close and competitive.

"When the game gets to that casual bit, he is worse than the rest of them. He gets really casual about it. It is better when he is on the edge. Then he is a marvellous player."

After having their lead cut to two points on Saturday, United could open it up to eight again when they entertain Everton next Sunday.

And that would set up a derby with City at the Etihad Stadium on April 30 when victory would see them crowned champions.

"I couldn't care less," defender Rio Ferdinand said about that prospect. "As long as we can win and we get the trophy, I couldn't care less where we win it.

"The fans would love it, but as long as you get your hands on the trophy you would take it in the back garden."

Ferguson is not even prepared to go that far.

"You can never be too confident in this game," he said. "My experience tells me that there is always something that is going to bite you on the bum.

"Hopefully we can avoid that."

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