Sir Alex Ferguson accused Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini of harassing the officials after watching Manchester United surrender the initiative with a damaging 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
Vincent Kompany nodded home the winner in first-half stoppage time as City leapt to the Barclays Premier League summit on goal difference.
But the game was more memorable for a touchline spat between Ferguson and Mancini in the second half, following Nigel de Jong's foul on Danny Welbeck.
Danny Welbeck left the Etihad Stadium wearing a protective boot on his ankle and Ferguson was unhappy with De Jong's challenge and the manner in which Mancini was talking to fourth official Mike Jones.
'He refereed the game,' said Ferguson.
'He was out on that touchline the whole game haranguing the referee, the fourth official and the linesmen.
'The minute I come off the bench for a bad tackle by De Jong on Welbeck, he was out again.
'He can't have it both ways. He's been complaining about referees this season but he won't be complaining tonight that's for sure.' Ferguson concluded
Mancini attempted to play down the spat, insisting it was just the tension of the moment that got the better of his opposite number even if he insisted that Fergie too talks to referees.
'He doesn't talk with the referee or fourth official? Never?' said the Italian.