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Van Persie could have been killed, Fergie rages

SWANSEA, United Kingdom, December 24 – Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson claimed Robin van Persie could have been killed after the Dutch striker was hit on the back of the head with the ball in the 1-1 draw against Swansea.

Ferguson vented his fury at the 75th-minute incident at the Liberty Stadium that led to Ashley Williams and van Persie being booked.

Having been upended on the edge of the penalty area, van Persie flew at Williams and had to be restrained by his team-mates after the Wales defender hit him flush on the back of the head with the ball.

Ferguson later claimed that Williams could have killed his player and demanded that the Football Association take action.

As for the game itself, Michu’s 13th goal of the season, after 29 minutes, cancelled out Patrice Evra’s 16th-minute header from van Persie’s corner.

“Van Persie could have been killed. The FA has got to look into it,” said Ferguson.

“Irrespective of him (Williams) having a yellow card, he should be banned for a long time because that was the most dangerous thing I’ve seen on a football field for many, many years.

“It was absolutely deliberate, absolutely no question. The whistle has gone, the game has stopped, and he’s done that right in front of the referee (Michael Oliver), a foot from the player.

“He could have really killed the lad. It was a disgraceful act by the player. He should be banned for a long, long time.”

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The United manager was also less than pleased with Wayne Rooney, who was substituted in the 78th minute after a lacklustre display.

“He didn’t play well, it’s as simple as that,” said the Scot, who added his team should have cantered to a victory which would have restored their six-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

“It’s unbelievable we didn’t win the match,” said Ferguson.

“It was a great performance in the second half. If I had a criticism, it was that the final ball let us down. We missed two or three great opportunities, but I have no criticism about the performance. It was very good.”

There were no complaints from Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, who lavished praise on the way his side battled back to level the game.

He said: “They started better than us. They scored and they had a five to 10-minute spell when they could have scored a second.

“We came back and equalised and I thought the first half was equal. It was more of an open game in the second half and it could have gone either way.

“They had more chances than us, but that’s normal for a side that’s top of the table. It’s a great point for the players and the club.

“I heard we showed too much respect for them last season, but that certainly wasn’t the case this year.

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“We can enjoy this for 24 hours because on Tuesday we have to think about Reading and for me, that game is more important. If we win and go to 27 points, that would be fantastic.”

On the incident between Williams and van Persie, Laudrup said: “I did not see it at the time as there were a lot of players involved, but I saw it afterwards.

“I don’t think he (Ferguson) meant literally killing him. Things happen in a game and I am sure Ashley and van Persie shook hands at the final whistle and we move on.

“When your pulse is on 180 then you can say things during the game you don’t mean, but then afterwards it is back to normal.”

Michu may have cancelled out Evra’s header, but the French defender was still happy with his goal.

“It was another header and I don’t think it’s an accident anymore,” said the former Monaco left-back.

“I have started to believe, so when we have a corner kick, I will always put myself in the right place. To be fair, I always get a good delivery from Wayne or, in this match, van Persie.”

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