Manchester United: Bowyer should have seen red - Fergie

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson felt Birmingham goal hero Lee Bowyer should have been sent off for his first half challenge on Darron Gibson during the 1-1 draw at St Andrews.

Bowyer received a yellow card from referee Lee Mason after a late lunge at Gibson who was starting his first Barclays Premier League game since April.

Ferguson felt Bowyer, who is 34 next week, should have been given his marching orders and he took advantage of staying on the pitch by scoring a last gasp equaliser.

The United chief fumed: "The Bowyer tackle in the first half, I thought it was a red card.

"He's gone over the top of the ball.

"Bowyer has been given a yellow card so nothing can be done about it (retrospectively).

"But it's a dangerous tackle."

Ferguson's anger was also not helped when replays suggested Blues striker Nikola Zigic had been guilty of handball and committing a foul in the build-up to Bowyer's point-saving goal.

But in the cold light of day he can reflect with satisfaction on United heading into the New Year on top of the table.

They have lost only two league matches during 2010 and remain unbeaten in the top flight during the current campaign.

Ferguson said: "I always say if we get to that top position on New Year's Day, then we've always got a great chance.

"There's five or six teams who are all contesting that area towards the top of the league."

With Wayne Rooney still without a club goal from open play in nine months, Ferguson will be relieved Dimitar Berbatov continues to sparkle.

His 15th goal of the campaign at St. Andrew's means he has already passed his totals of 12 and 14 for his previous two campaigns at Old Trafford.

Ferguson said: "Dimitar is in great form and it is good to see that.

"His confidence is high too - and that is important."

Ferguson will hope that Arsenal will find it as difficult as the other leading teams when they visit Birmingham on Saturday.

Alex McLeish's side have already beaten Chelsea and drawn with Tottenham at home this season in addition to gaining the point against United which moved them out of the bottom three.

Ferguson said: "Maybe it will be seen as a good point in the long run. Absolutely. Birmingham is a very difficult place to come to.

"You see their home record in terms of goals against them. Very few teams score goals at Birmingham.

"That has been going on since Alex (McLeish) came here as a manager. They set their stall out very well."

McLeish is constantly full of praise for the resilience shown by his team and their never say die attitude surfaced once again in thwarting United.

But the former Scotland boss is also aware of the need for his team to start being more clinical in front of goal if they are to climb away from the relegation zone.

He said: "Why are we near the bottom? We haven't scored enough goals. That is the bottom line.

"We've not been battered in any game this season and the players can be proud of that.

"I heard David Moyes talking the other day about the reason Everton are in their position they are because they haven't scored enough goals.

"We haven't done that either. The thing which has let us down is we've not scored enough goals.

"It will take us up the table if we score the chances we create."

McLeish believes United and Arsenal are the current favourites to win the title.

He said: "I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be United. Chelsea are still a wee bit away now.

"United and Arsenal are favourites now but we say that at different stages of the season and then a couple of results go against you and it changes.

"It has been such a topsy turvy season. It has been a strange one, teams in the lower half beating the top teams.

"Even the top teams have been a little inconsistent but United's recent form has been great."

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