Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has responded to Rafa Benitez’s tiraded and described the Liverpool boss’ comments as ‘ridiculous’.
Speaking after his side’s 3-0 home win over title rivals Chelsea, Ferguson hit back at his managerial rival.
Benitez spoke on Friday in response to Ferguson’s assertion that Liverpool could choke under the pressure of being at the top of the table.
Benítez described Ferguson as being “the only manager in the English league who cannot be punished” for offences against referees and suggested the United manager was allowed to act with impunity by the Premier League and the FA.
“I think you have to cut through the venom of it,” Ferguson said.
“There was a lot of venom in what he said and I don’t understand where it has come from. I think he was an angry man.
“He was obviously disturbed about something but I think when he reflects on it he will surely realise it is wrong. Hopefully he will reflect and understand that what he is saying is absolutely ridiculous.”
Liverpool’s draw at Stoke means United could find themselves top of the table before the leaders play their next game against Everton next Monday.
In the aftermath of Liverpool’s goalless draw Benítez sought to clarify his comments.
“The situation now is we are at the top of the table and they were saying Liverpool is not a threat,” Benítez said. “Now they know we are a threat, they have started playing mind games. But I don’t think it’s a mind game when you already have control over everything; it’s a mind game when you are on the same level as the other people and you can show you are cleverer than the others.
“But when you have control of everything and your chief executive (David Gill) is in the FA and things like this, then that is not mind games.”
Asked if Gill’s position represented a conflict of interest, Benítez added: “It’s another fact. It is a fact that one person who has a lot of power and control and is on a lot of committees is in the FA.”