Belfast Telegraph

Ferdinand: We are united, unlike Manchester City

Rio Ferdinand has made a veiled attack on team spirit of Manchester City ahead of Saturday's FA Cup semi-final between the two Manchester clubs.

Ferdinand pointedly said that United players do not complain about being substituted or sitting on the bench.

He was speaking on Tuesday night, the day after City's James Milner was visibly upset at being withdrawn by Roberto Mancini at Anfield.

“You don't see people coming off shaking their heads or being disgruntled or sitting on the bench in a sulk at this club,” Ferdinand declared in the aftermath of United's defeat of Chelsea, “because everyone is delighted to be at this club and they want to be here.”

Ferdinand volunteered this point in what seems to be a comparison with United's cross-city rivals, who have been afflicted by discord in the squad this season.

There have been fights on the training ground between players and, pertinently, on Monday at Liverpool Milner shook his head in disappointment on being substituted.

“The moment you show a little bit of dissent like that the manager isn't happy and he pulls rank and rightly so,” Ferdinand said.

“He keeps people on their toes. People want to play here. You want to be here. You don't want to be part of any other squad and that's the way it is.”

When asked why there was such unity, Ferdinand replied that it was “just a respect for the club, the manager, and the people who were here before you”.

Ferdinand was clear on the importance of avoiding dissent to the coherence of the club. “It's an unwritten rule,” he said. “You see in the changing-room before games there are no cliques. People are wishing each other well before games, even if someone else is playing in your position, that's just the way we are.”

Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney admitted that his swearing on television was “wrong”, and said he “accepts” his two-match ban from the Football Association.

Rooney is suspended for Saturday's FA Cup semi-final, but reflected that he has to “move on” from the controversy, which dated back to Manchester United's win at West Ham nearly two weeks ago. The England forward had apologised soon after the incident. He swore into a camera in the aftermath of his third goal, in a game where United recovered from 0-2 down to win 4-2.

He was, nevertheless, banned for two games for “offensive, insulting and/or abusive language”, and his appeal was rejected.

Yesterday he apologised again on talkSPORT. “Of course it was wrong of me to do,” he admitted, “but I accept my punishment and you just have to move on. Hopefully the boys can pull through for me on Saturday and hopefully get to that FA Cup final.”

Rooney praised Ryan Giggs, and predicted that he would be knighted sooner rather than later.

“What he has done at Man United, what he does for the younger players at the club is absolutely fantastic,” Rooney said. “For me, he's a genius and don't think it will be long before we call him Sir Ryan.”

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