Alex Ferguson was angry.
After only the second Premier League loss by his team this season, the Manchester United manager said David Luiz should have been ejected before Frank Lampard scored the go-ahead goal in Chelsea's 2-1 victory Tuesday night.
Ferguson said Luiz, who already had a yellow card, should have been sent off by referee Martin Atkinson for fouling Wayne Rooney. Lampard converted a penalty kick in the 80th minute, shortly after Ferguson said Luiz should have been sent off.
"You want a fair referee — or a strong referee, anyway — and we didn't get that," Ferguson said. "I don't know why he has got the game. I must say, when I saw who the referee was I did fear it. I feared the worst.
"The Luiz foul was 6 yards in front of the referee, maybe 8 if we give him the benefit of the doubt, no obstructions whatsoever. I don't know how he stayed on the pitch."
The Red Devils' loss tightened a Premier League race that they have controlled for months.
Rooney scored in his third straight Premier League game for the first time in a year, putting United ahead in the 29th minute with a 25-yard shot that beat goalkeeper Petr Cech. Rooney was playing after escaping punishment for elbowing an opponent in an off-the-ball incident Saturday at Wigan.
Luiz tied in the 54th by volleying in his first goal for Chelsea. Lampard scored the go-ahead goal when he put his kick just over the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar after Yuri Zhirkov was tripped in the penalty area by United defender Chris Smalling. Chelsea has won three straight league games against United.
"The penalty was very soft. In actual fact," Ferguson said. "Chris has taken the ball and the player's left his leg in. Very soft. Amazing."
United captain Nemanja Vidic was ejected in stoppage time when he received his second yellow card for a foul on Ramires. Vidic is suspended for Sunday's game at Liverpool.
Manchester United (17-2-9) has 60 points, four more than second-place Arsenal (17-5-5), which has played one fewer game. The Gunners host United on May 1.
Chelsea (14-7-6) moved into fourth place — the final Champions League spot — with 48 points, two back of Manchester City (14-6-8) and one ahead of Tottenham (13-6-8).
"We've still got some fight in us and we showed that tonight," Lampard said.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti isn't anticipating the Blues will win their second straight league title.
"It is too far, and we are not able to fix this and arrive at the top," Ancelotti said. "But this victory is important for our confidence."
Ferguson used the same starting lineup in consecutive games for the first time in 165 matches as Man United tried for its first league win at Stamford Bridge in nine years. Ryan Giggs entered in the 70th minute, a day shy of the 20th anniversary of his league debut for United. The 37-year-old tied Bobby Charlton's club record by making his 606th league appearance.
Fernando Torres failed to score and has no goals in four games since Chelsea bought him from Liverpool for about $80 million.
"I don't ask my strikers to score, I ask them to play for the team," Ancelotti said. "He played well, worked hard for the team and put pressure on defenders."