Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson conceded that Ashley Young was probably offside in the build-up to the crucial moment of Sunday's win over QPR - but denied he dived to win a penalty.

36734 - Young was offside, but he didn't dive - Fergie

Young went down under pressure from Shaun Derry in the first half of the Premier League match at Old Trafford, with referee Lee Mason showing little hesitation in awarding United a penalty and handing Derry a red card.

QPR have already confirmed they will appeal against the dismissal.

Replays subsequently suggested the decision was harsh - with contact limited and the winger in an offside position - but Ferguson dismissed any suggestion that his player had cheated the opposition in order to gain an advantage.

Wayne Rooney converted the subsequent penalty, with United eventually running out 2-0 winners over the 10-man Hoops.

"I thought it was offside," Ferguson said afterwards. "There have been lots of decisions like that in the last few weeks. The boy (Derry) did just enough to off-balance Ashley and, being the last defender, the referee felt he had no option.

"I felt we were a little bit out of our comfort zone after that, I didn't enjoy it.

"Before the sending-off our speed was terrific, we had some good play, but the sending-off unsettled us and put us out of our comfort zone."

The victory extended United's lead at the top of the table over Manchester City, with defender Rio Ferdinand noting that chalking up another win - regardless of the performance - was the most important thing.

"They had a man sent off early in the game, and while we would have liked to score a few more goals, a clean sheet and a couple of goals - we would have taken that before the game," Ferdinand said.

"We never doubted ourselves that we could put together a run of good games. Momentum is key at this stage of season, we can tick one more game off today and hopefully we can keep it going.

"(Having title experience) is huge. We've been in this position before so that counts for a lot.

"We know what it takes to get over the finishing line first and we have to use that experience to do it again."