Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that Rafael was provoked by David Luiz after the right-back was shown a red card following a clash with his compatriot in the closing stages of the Red Devils' 1-0 defeat against Chelsea.
Shortly after Juan Mata had scored what proved to be the winning goal at Old Trafford, Rafael was dismissed for kicking out at Luiz as he pursued the Blues defender towards the corner flag.
Speaking after the match, however, Sir Alex refused to condone the 22-year-old's behaviour but insisted Luiz should also have been punished by referee Howard Webb.
"It was the elbows," Sir Alex told Sky Sports. "He retaliated. That's always happened. The player that retaliates always gets the bigger penalty.
"It was quite clear that Luiz has elbowed him twice actually and it's rash what he’s doing. He's a young lad and he should know better that retaliation never works."
The United boss added: "I wouldn't say it was violent conduct. The referee hasn't even seen it, I don't think he can see it at all.
"But he's gone with the fact that Luiz has rolled about on the floor and I think that's convinced him it's a red card."
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