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English Premiership

Moyes in hot water over ref attack

MOYES-WBALONDON, January 9 – David Moyes’s problems increased Wednesday when the Football Association said they were looking into the Manchester United manager’s latest attack on referees.

Moyes said United were “playing” officials as well as the opposition” after Sunderland’s 2-1 victory at the Stadium of Light in the first leg of a League Cup semi-final on Tuesday condemned his side to three consecutive defeats for the first time in 13 years.

Moyes had previously seen his team lose by the same scoreline at home to Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City in the past week, leaving reigning champions United 11 points off the pace in the Premier League and out of the FA Cup.

The Scot was angry with referee Andre Marriner for awarding a free-kick against Jonny Evans in the build-up to Sunderland’s opener, which saw Ryan Giggs turn the ball into his own net in first-half stoppage time.

“We defended a terrible free-kick, but how the referee has given a free-kick for that is way beyond me,” Moyes said. “I just cannot see how that is a free-kick.” Nemanja Vidic equalised for United early in the second half, only for Marriner to award Sunderland a penalty after Tom Cleverley was adjudged to have impeded home substitute Adam Johnson.

Again, Moyes was unimpressed by the decision. “We are all just laughing at them at the minute,” he said. “It looks as though we are having to play them (officials) as well as the opposition at the moment.”

Moyes’s comments followed his claim it was “scandalous” United were not awarded a late penalty against Tottenham at Old Trafford.

The Scot could face disciplinary action if the FA deem him to have called into question the impartiality of match officials.

The FA are also investigating how several flares were let off in the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, despite recent safety warnings.

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“We are looking into David Moyes’s comments to the media following the match at Sunderland,” an FA spokesman said.

“We are also contacting both clubs to seek their observations in relation to the use of flares last night.”

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