Man Utd relief over Pogatetz horror tackle
Friday, 26 September 2008

Middlesbrough's Austrian defender Emanuel Pogatetz (centre) is sent off during the Carling Cup third round football match against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Manchester, on September 23.AFP, MANCHESTER, England - Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday after learning that promising Brazilian teenager Rodrigo Possebon had not broken his leg, as first feared, after a horror challenge by Middlesbrough's Emanuel Pogatetz.

Possebon needed oxygen before being was stretchered off in the second half of United's 3-1 League Cup win over Middlesbrough following a studs-up challenge which earned the visiting captain a straight red card.
 
The challenge drew a furious response from Ferguson who remonstrated on the touchline with Middlesbrough coach Colin Cooper and had a heated debate with manager Gareth Southgate.
 
It also marred what was a hugely positive evening for United in which Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his first start since undergoing knee surgery in July with United's opening goal.
 
Adam Johnson equalised for Boro but late goals Ryan Giggs and Nani ensured United took advantage of Pogatetz's moment of madness.
 
"It was pretty horrendous to be honest with you," Ferguson said of the challenge. "For ten minutes after it, everyone was numb and we lost our momentum but the thing about those challenges is it is always the case that the opponent claims he is innocent.
 
"That's what I couldn't understand. He should have walked right off. One of their bench was screaming that he shouldn't have been sent off and that there was nothing wrong with our player.
 
"At least Gareth Southgate apologised, he understood the gravity of it and was very, very apologetic but it was a terrible tackle. I've seen the video of it and I really don't want to see it again."
 
Southgate made no excuses for his captain's assault on the United starlet, who was making his first competitive start for the club.
 
"He won the ball but he caught him with his following foot," said Southgate. "I have no complaints about the sending off and just have to hope that if he is seriously hurt the lad gets a full and speedy recovery.
 
"Obviously, in the context of the game, it turned the game against us as well, but our first thoughts are with the lad.
 
"A couple of lads on our bench didn't have the same view of it that I did. I could see it was a bad one and I think we have dealt with that with Sir Alex now. I explained that to him and put it right."
Pogatetz has been known to relish the physical side of the game and, although his manager made no attempt to defend the foul which left a large and gaping gash on Possebon's right shin, he refused to reveal what punishment he will hand out.
 
"That's not something I want to talk about publically," said Southgate. "I have no complaints about the sending off, we apologised to the player and everything else stays within the club.
 
"I have to say the last two years he has worked incredibly hard on his disciplinary record. That was an unusual aberration for him in that period of time."
 
Ferguson was delighted to see Ronaldo, whose goal was a header from a Ryan Giggs corner, play for over an hour in what was a full blooded contest.
 
"We have plenty of big games coming up so that was important," added Ferguson. "We have players who need the games.
 
"Cristiano, as he has done many times before, climbed above the defenders, his spring is terrific and Ryan's finish was absolutely fabulous. I was pleased with a good performance, it's just a pity about the boy's injury."

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