| 10.4°C Dublin

Fergie: Suarez is to blame

MANCHESTER United manager Alex Ferguson believes Liverpool striker Luis Suarez should accept responsibility for the handshake debacle that prolonged his racism row with Patrice Evra.

Suarez reopened old wounds this week with a scathing attack on the processes which landed him with an eight-match ban and £40,000 fine last season.

He accused United of having too much power and said he was reduced to tears when he was found guilty by an FA disciplinary committee.

The Uruguay forward also blamed Evra for the very public failure to shake hands prior to the Old Trafford encounter between the north-west giants, which forced Reds owner John Henry to step in.

Ferguson, though, believes such accusations are misplaced.

"I think Evra expected him not to shake hands," the Scot said.

"He actually said that to the lads. He just felt that he wasn't going to shake his hand. He was embarrassed to put his hand there.

"But there is no doubt Evra put his hand towards him.

"It's Suarez who should be making the effort to do something about it."

Liverpool were widely condemned for their handling of the affair, with Kenny Dalglish heavily criticised.

And Ferguson believes the negative publicity played a part in getting his fellow Scot the sack this summer.

"I wasn't surprised at Kenny leaving," said Ferguson.

"John Henry has obviously looked at that (the Suarez incident) and felt it wasn't handled in the right way.

"It certainly wasn't a nice thing to happen and it must have been part of it."

Dalglish earned criticism for wearing a T-shirt in support of Suarez prior to a game at Wigan last December.

The Scot subsequently issued an apology for "not conducting myself in a way befitting of a Liverpool manager" during a television interview, in the wake of Suarez's refusal to shake Evra's hand before the league game at Old Trafford in February.


Suarez's comments about his eight-match ban during an interview to Uruguayan television earlier this week saw the 25-year-old claim that, "United's political power is strong and you must respect that and shut your mouth".

The former Ajax forward, who could face Evra on international duty when Uruguay play France next month, also claimed that the United captain's hand was "low" during the pre-match handshake at Old Trafford.

"I don't think that (the Suarez ban) was anything to do with Manchester United. I think that was to do with Patrice Evra," said Ferguson.

"It was the guy who explained the cultural differences. He was the guy who killed Suarez."

The recent acquittal of Chelsea captain John Terry on a charge of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand -- the brother of United centre-half Rio -- has led to further controversy, with the United defender under the spotlight for tweets relating to Ashley Cole, a witness during the trial.

Ferguson insists that racism is not a growing issue in English football, however, and does not believe that friction between Terry and Rio Ferdinand led to the United defender being omitted from England's Euro 2012 squad.

"I don't know about that," Ferguson said. "Maybe Roy (Hodgson) didn't fancy him (Ferdinand), it's a possibility. I don't think it (England) is on Rio's agenda. He's 33 now and he wants to ensure he's fit for us.

"But I don't think in general there is cause to worry about racism in England. We have made great strides forward on the issue over many years.

"Obviously, I don't know what he (Terry) said. There's a lot of speculation about what he said and why he said it, but I don't think it (racism in football) is a problem."

Despite the furore surrounding Ferdinand as a result of the tweets relating to Cole, however, Ferguson admits he cannot stop his players using the social networking site.

He added: "I don't understand it (Twitter), to be honest, and don't know why they do it.

"I can't understand why people can bother themselves with it, but as long as they don't talk about the team, and he (Ferdinand) is well aware of that, then it's okay.

"I don't think we can stop him (from tweeting)."

Ferguson is understood not to be in the hunt to sign Arsenal's want-away striker Robin van Persie.

But he admitted that talks were continuing with Danny Welbeck's representatives over a new contract for the young striker, but conceded "it's difficult to say where we are with that at this moment in time".