Fergie sympathy for Wenger

United manager backs ban but understands stance of rival boss

Ferguson: Wenger understanding

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson supports Eduardo's two-match ban - but believes he would respond the same as Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

Eduardo was handed the ban after being charged with "deceiving the referee" to win a penalty for Arsenal during last week's Champions League play-off against Celtic.

The Gunners are to appeal against Uefa's decision, which they feel has "obvious errors" and was a "deeply flawed" ruling.

Wenger dismissed Uefa's investigation of the incident as a "witch-hunt", and Wales manager John Toshack claimed on Friday that "a very dangerous precedent has been created".

Message

And although Ferguson believes Uefa's actions will help clamp down on simulation, he sympathises with Wenger's defence of the Croatia international.

"Quite rightly something should be done. You hope that message gets across," said Ferguson, speaking to the media following a Uefa Elite Club Coaches Forum in Nyon, Switzerland.

"I wouldn't say it publicly but I wouldn't be pleased if it was my player who did that," he added.

"When you make a public criticism of your players you are in danger of losing the morale of the dressing room.

"Your job is to protect the dressing room and keep it solid.

Protective

"You become insular and protective of your own players in your team. We're all selfish that way."

Ferguson feels the authorities must target every level of the game - from grass-roots to the elite game - to rid football of diving.

"Not one coach is proud of the fact that they have players who simulate to get decisions," he said.

"Coaches can't be proud if they have won the game that way. I certainly wouldn't be.

"We all agreed that education is the best way forward, from youth teams through to first team players.

"We all have a responsibility, particularly the players of today, on how it impacts on young people."