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Benitez claims Fergie handshake snub

Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez claims Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson avoided shaking his hand after Sunday’s 2-2 FA Cup draw.

Benitez’s men came from two goals down at Old Trafford to force a replay of the quarter-final tie, but the post-match focus was quickly drawn to renewed hostilities between Benitez and the Scot.

Ferguson’s supposed snub adds to a growing collection of incidents in a long-running feud between the two managers, dating back to Benitez’s time in charge of Liverpool.

Asked why he had not shaken hands with Ferguson, Benitez told reporters: “I was waiting. I have education. I knew that a lot of people were watching. Ask him (Ferguson) if you are brave enough.”

The under-pressure interim manager was delighted by his side’s performance after falling two goals down within the first 11 minutes, with second-half strikes from Eden Hazard and Ramires ensuring that a replay at Stamford Bridge.

Speaking to ITV after the final whistle, Benitez believes his side were unlucky not to have taken the win that would have confirmed a semi-final date with Manchester City at Wembley.

He continued: “I think that, especially in the second half, we were on top of them. We created the best chances and we were controlling the game.”

“We have to think about the first game, and afterwards we think about City. It will be tough and it will be difficult because United are a great side.”

Ferguson preferred to focus on on-field matters afterwards, claiming his side could have easily been eliminated by a rampant Chelsea response.

The United boss added that his side’s midweek Champions League exit had an adverse effect on the performance.

“We’re lucky to be in the cup,” Ferguson told reporters. “We just ran out of legs and Chelsea were far the better team in the second half.

“But I can’t be critical of my side because the running they had to do on Tuesday night, against a really top side in Real Madrid, had its bearing on today’s result, no doubt about that.

“The two full-backs, Rafael and Patrice (Evra), are knackered and the two central midfielders tired badly. We kept giving the ball away and it made it a long day for us, going from one penalty box and back to our own.”

Sun 10 March, 2013
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