LONDON, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Manchester United manager David Moyes criticised referee Howard Webb for not giving his side a late penalty as their revival ended in a 2-1 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Wednesday.
The Scot was incensed about an 87th minute challenge from French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris on substitute Ashley Young that even Spurs manager Tim Sherwood thought was a penalty as United slipped to a fourth league home defeat this season.
"It was scandalous," said Moyes. "If you follow through on a player anywhere else on the pitch with your foot high, it would be a sending off and a red card.
"The goalkeeper comes out, Ashley Young gets the ball before him and he follows through. It's an incredible decision which didn't go our way, in fact probably one of the worst I think I have seen.
"All I can tell you is that was a stonewall penalty. If that is not given, well, I don't think we'll have any more in the Premier League this season."
"The goalkeeper has come out for it, Ashley got to the ball before him... how could he (Young) play for it? The goalkeeper went right through him. It's reckless, it's late, it's in the penalty box."
United's scorer Danny Welbeck also had a penalty appeal waved away, having gone down easily under Romania defender Vlad Chiriches' challenge, while young Belgian winger Adnan Januzaj picked up a yellow card for simulation.
"The one on Welbeck could have been given as well... have you seen that decision (Januzaj's 89th minute booking)?
"Adnan got bumped, the boy (Danny Rose) has tried to edge him off the ball, to bump him... that was a terrible decision."
However, Moyes accepted his side could have done better to stop the two Spurs goals, which were scored on the counter, and added that "small mistakes" had led to United's sixth league defeat this season after they dominated possession.
"We got done on the counter-attack for a couple of goals and made a couple of mistakes but I thought the team played very well today," Moyes said. "All you can do is play well and then hopefully you take your opportunities when they come and you don't make small mistakes."
He added that United "never deserved to be behind" but they found themselves 2-0 down after 66 minutes through goals by Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen before Welbeck made it 2-1 a minute later to give United some hope.
"I actually thought when we got the goal back that we'd go on and win the game, never mind draw it, with the amount of chances we had, we really should have done so," added Moyes whose side had more shots on goal than the visitors.
The result leaves United seventh, 11 points behind leaders Arsenal, and they could be without Wayne Rooney for at least one of their forthcoming domestic cup matches because he is still struggling with a groin injury despite playing against Spurs.
Rooney missed the 1-0 league win at Norwich City on Saturday and Moyes said he has to manage the striker's injury carefully ahead of Sunday's FA Cup third round tie at home to Swansea City and Tuesday's League Cup semi-final first leg at Sunderland.
"The plan was to play Wayne for 90 minutes (against Tottenham), but he has a bit of a groin injury," said Moyes. "The longer it went on, we had to try to get more attacking players on the pitch to try and find more ways to score.
"If I could (rest Rooney) I would, but the games are coming thick and fast. He has missed a game with his groin and he may well miss some more coming up."
Moyes said he was also not sure whether Dutch international Robin van Persie, who this week returned to light training after being sidelined with a thigh problem for three weeks, would be available for Sunday's match. (Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)