at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has rounded on critics of his under-fire goalkeeper David de Gea, who include former United right-back Gary Neville, by branding them “idiots”.
De Gea came in for criticism after his weak punch led to Tottenham Hotspur's injury-time equaliser in United's 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane last weekend.
Neville, now an analyst for Sky Sports, said De Gea's team-mates would have been “furious” with him, while former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen was also critical of the Spaniard.
Ferguson, however, believes the criticism is unfair.
“It has been over the top. It is always over the top when it comes to criticism here,” he said.
“You have to listen to some idiots in the game. I am not interested in discussing the criticism because we know it is unfounded.
“Outfield players maybe make 20 mistakes in a game. But they (goalkeepers) are in a crucial position. It is unfortunate for the lad, but he has to deal with it and we will help him.”
Ferguson strongly criticised assistant referee Simon Beck after the game for failing to award United a penalty following an apparent foul on Wayne Rooney by Spurs centre-back Steven Caulker.
He has been asked to explain his comments by the Football Association and will find out whether or not any charges will be brought against him on Tuesday.
Speaking prior to United's FA Cup match at home to Fulham on Saturday, Ferguson said he should be allowed to voice his opinions and then appeared to suggest that the FA were targetting him unfairly.
“That is what I have put in my letter, exactly. But you never know the FA,” he said.
“We are high-profile and the profile of me is such that the FA naturally panic as soon as the press criticise them. I think that is what you will find. That is why they have sent me a letter.
“Whether I think it is unfair or not doesn't matter to them really at this point. I just think it is more about me than what I have said.” – Sapa-AFP