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Published: 18:19 | 1/5/16

LVG defends Fellaini, Ranieri waits on title

Midfielder elbowed Robert Huth in penalty box

Louis Van Gaal defended the actions of Marouane Fellaini over an off-the-ball incident in which the Belgian lashed out at Robert Huth.

The clash was not seen by the match officials and considering the three-match ban handed out to Dele Alli this week after the FA reviewed footage of a similar incident, the midfielder's league campaign could be over.

Wes Morgan's header cancelled out Anthony Martial's opener and the point leaves Leicester City on the brink of sealing the unlikeliest of title wins.

But Van Gaal was more interested in stating the case for Fellaini.

"I think we played one of our best matches of the season, but it was not enough, he said. It was a very difficult match for the referee - when you see what Huth is doing with Fellaini, is that not a penalty? [grabs reporter's hair.]

"Every human being who is grabbed with their hair would react. It is tougher when you don't win, of course it is tougher [to finish in the top four]. But Manchester City have to play Southampton away, so we are still in the race. For me Tottenham can also win - the best has to win. Tottenham has more points against us, but I think Leicester City deserves to win this championship. They have very good organisation, but we have a lot of chances."

"I think it's one of our best performances this season, but we didn't score the winning goal and we were so close, so it's a big pity," he added later to the BBC. "They are very strong with set plays and we have to organise better.

"We are still in the [top four] race because Manchester City still have to play Southampton away. It could have [been a red card for Danny Simpson] because he was Danny Simpson and he was the last man, but it was not a heavy foul so I can understand why he didn't give it."

Claudio Ranieri meanwhile paid tribute to his side's battling display.

"The performance was good after the first 15 minutes, when we were a little scared," he said. "United started very well and it was difficult for us to restart. After the goal we played better and I think the draw is the right result.

"I wasn't worried because we have very good heart and I knew we would react. The goal maybe gave us more confidence slowly - without Jamie Vardy, it's difficult for us. Marouane Fellaini kicked Robert Huth and it wasn't a good show from him.

"For us it was important to show our mentality - the beginning wasn't good but after that I appreciated our performance. I'd like to watch the Tottenham match but I'm on a flight back from Italy so I might not know the result until I land. For us it's important to continue to work. I met Louis van Gaal in 1994 - he said to me good luck."

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