Sir Alex Ferguson has slammed the assistant referee, John Flynn, after a ridiculous decision which denied United three points against Newcastle today.

The referee, Mike Jones, initially indicated that a corner should be awarded, before the linesman flagged for a penalty.

Ferguson criticised the linesman and reflected on an equally poor decision by an official at the end of the 2009-2010 season against Chelsea, when Didier Drogba scored the match-winning goal from an offside position.

“Everyone, including the referee, was astounded. He was put in a terrible position. Why can’t the referee overrule it when he is only eight yards away?” Ferguson said. “The problem is that the referees are full-time and the linesmen are not, and whether he ever gets a game again, the assistant referee, is not for me to decide but it was an absolutely shocking decision. It costs you. Two years ago when the linesman gave the offside goal against Chelsea it cost us the league, so hopefully we’re not saying that at the end of May.”

Video of the Rio Ferdinand tackle on Ben Arfa