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Red Devil's chief feels criticism was inevitable...

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has sympathised with referee Howard Webb following his performance in the World Cup 2010 final.

The English referee was criticised by members of the Netherlands squad after they felt a series of wrong decisions were to blame for their 1-0 defeat to Spain in Johannesburg.

However, Ferguson believes the Premier League official had a difficult match to take charge of and the behaviour of the Dutch players left Webb with little choice but to keep flashing the cards.

“He was given an impossible task with the behaviour of the players," Ferguson told Canadian television.

"I think it got to the stage in the first-half that showing a red card would have put him under pressure, criticism-wise.

"A World Cup final, having a player sent off, it's not the done thing and you don't want to see that. The public doesn't want to see that, the spectators who have gone to the game don't want to see that, and he was left in that position.

"There was no way out for him. If he had sent a player off [so early on], he would have faced criticism. If he didn't send a player off, he would get criticism. I think at half-time he realised that, and in the second half, his momentum got less and less."

Holland were eventually left with 10-men after John Heitinga saw red for a second yellow card, and Spain went on to lift their first World Cup trophy thanks to Andreas Iniesta's extra-time winner.

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