Redknapp rages at 'terrible' penalty that saw Man United steam ahead

By Joe Bernstein for the Daily Mail

Furious Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp confronted referee Howard Webb in the Old Trafford tunnel after his 'terrible mistake' helped Manchester United overturn a 2-0 half-time deficit to beat Spurs 5-2 and stay three points clear at the top.

Even United manager Sir Alex Ferguson conceded his side had a lucky break when Webb controversially ruled that Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes had tripped Michael Carrick. TV replays showed he had tipped the ball away first.

Cristiano Ronaldo converted the spot-kick to spark an incredible spell of five United goals in 22 minutes.

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Michael Carrick

Turning point: Carrick falls as goalkeeper Gomes gets a hand to the ball

Redknapp and his equally angry assistant, Joe Jordan, approached Webb in the tunnel after the game and Redknapp then gave the official a piece of his mind in the referee's room.

Redknapp said: 'It was a terrible mistake by the referee. I told him he had made a big mistake. All he would say was "If I did, I am sorry".

'Even the United players on the pitch were telling our lads they couldn't believe it had been given.

'The ball went at right angles. How would that have happened if our keeper had not got a full hand on it?'

The 57th-minute incident inspired misfiring United to a handsome victory and Redknapp said: 'It changed the face of this game. We were 2-0 ahead and I couldn't see them getting back into it without a bit of help from the referee. I think you have to use technology now.

'You have the fourth official concentrating on petty things like making sure managers don't step out of the technical area. Why can't they view a screen and help the ref?'

Liverpool had drawn level with United earlier in the day by beating Hull City 3-1 but United's win means they now only need 10 points from five games to guarantee their third consecutive title.

'If we had beaten United, it would have been game on for the title but I can't see them slipping now,' said Redknapp.

Ferguson, who feels his side have been on the wrong end of penalty decisions in the last two FA Cup campaigns - against Redknapp's Portsmouth and Everton in last week's semi-final - admitted his side were lucky.

'Football is a funny game and this time we got a break,' he said. 'We needed to get a goal early in the second half because before then we were too slow and casual. We got it and then we were confident.'

Meanwhile, Redknapp has discovered that centre-back Michael Dawson, carried off in last week's win over Newcastle at White Hart Lane, suffered a partially torn ankle ligament and will be out for at least three weeks.