Sir Alex Ferguson claims he substituted Wayne Rooney in Manchester United's draw at Everton as he feared referee Alan Wiley was going to send off his player.
Wiley showed Rooney a yellow card for a second half challenge on Mikel Arteta, which Ferguson argues was an over-reaction on the official's part, and the former Everton man's afternoon was ended not long after.
After being subjected to taunts from the Goodison faithful all afternoon, Rooney responded by kissing the badge on his shirt. Ferguson insists he has no problem with Rooney's behaviour but feels Wiley has some explaining to do.
"I think the referee was to blame for that (the substitution) because he's booked him for nothing," he told Sky Sports.
"I think with the crowd egging him on, there was every chance he was going to get sent off. It wasn't his doing, I thought he did nothing wrong in the game. I thought he behaved well.
"We were getting to the point where I was wondering what the referee was going to do next."
Darren Fletcher gave United a first half lead that was fully deserved following a dominant display from the champions, but Everton were rejuvenate after the break and took a point courtesy of Marouane Fellaini's powerful header.
Ferguson praised Everton's battling spirit but thought his side should have been afforded more protection from Wiley and his team of officials.
"Everton turned it into a battle in the second half particularly. They were encouraged by the crowd, they were up for it. In fairness to them you have to give credit them credit for that.
"They unsettled us and then we started to give the ball away. That's what has cost us the match.
"We had a terrific spell in the first half but in the second half they started to get wired into us. I don't think the referee protected us enough. I don't know what the game is coming to, to be honest. The speed of some of the tackles, the ferocity, somebody is going to get a serious injury."