Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson branded Lille a “disgrace” and wants Uefa to intervene after the French club’s players threatened to walk off the pitch during last night’s stormy Champions League encounter.
The Lille team looked ready to quit the match after Ryan Giggs’ controversial quick free-kick gave United a 1-0 lead.
“That is a disgrace and Uefa have to do something about that because it was pure intimidation of the referee.
“The Lille staff encouraged their players to come off and that made it a hostile atmosphere inside the ground. It’s a disgrace.
“Uefa will have to come down on it. They have to. It was very worrying because they were throwing missiles and Gary Neville got hit by something.”
Ferguson ordered his players to stay on the pitch as Lille players gathered on the touchline.
“I wanted to make sure our players kept on the pitch away from it all,” he added.” It wasn’t our concern so I didn’t want us involved.”
Lille president Michel Seydoux said his players did not walk off the pitch in order to get their Champions League tie against Manchester United abandoned.
“It was not an attempt to get the game abandoned – it was an emotional moment,” said Seydoux.
Ferguson’s comments were criticised by Lille coach Guy Puel, who claimed his team were not planning a walk-off.
He said: “I don’t know how that man Ferguson can allow himself to comment like that about this. He should have said nothing.
“The team wished to make a complaint about the goal and didn’t want to leave the field. They were just making a protest.
“In France the tradition is to make a protest at the first pause in the game and then after the match.”
“I don’t understand. We could not express a formal complaint as we could not find a Uefa delegate.”