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Ferguson: Benitez claims are ´nonsense´

15 March 2013 15:52

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says Rafael Benitez's claims he snubbed a pre-match handshake last Sunday are 'nonsense'.

The Chelsea interim manager had said Fergusonignored him ahead of the FA Cup sixth-round clash between the sides at Old Trafford.

Benitez also suggested that reporters ask the Manchester United boss for his take on events if they were 'brave enough'.

"That's absolute nonsense," Ferguson said on Friday.

"Why wouldn't I shake hands? Think about it. Have you ever seen me not shake hands with anyone?

"I never saw him. I was signing autographs at the front. There's that Indian lad who always wants to shake my hand before the game, and says it brings me luck.

"I was signing autographs and I moved across the stairway to where they all gang up to get autographs, so I never saw him.

"Why he would say that, I've no idea. If he wanted to shake my hand he could have walked straight in front of me.

"I don't know why he's said that, I've no idea."

Ferguson also confirmed both Nani and Phil Jones will miss Saturday's clash with Reading, who sacked Brian McDermott on Monday.

"Nani came off against Chelsea but it is not serious and it will only be a couple of weeks out," he added.

"We thought it was another bad hamstring injury but it's only a slight one. Hopefully he'll be ready for action after the Sunderland game.

"Phil Jones is not back yet, but he should start training next week. The players have done well in training this week and hopefully we'll be OK (Saturday)."

The United manager also had his say on the Royals' decision to relieve McDermott of his duties.

"Reading are fighting for their lives at the bottom and could come here without a manager," he said.

"Some things you can never understand. To sack Brian McDermott at this stage of the season is strange to say the least."

Meanwhile, Ferguson admits he is concerned over Rio Ferdinand's inclusion in Roy Hodgson's England squad.

The defender has been called up to the national side for the first time since June 2011 and is expected to play against San Marino and Montenegro.

And Ferguson said he was 'surprised as anyone' when he heard the news and hopes England oblige by the treatment regime Ferdinand has undertook this season.

"Obviously I was surprised as anyone when I heard that," Ferguson said.

"We need to speak to a doctor. We prepare Rio in certain ways, he has certain treatments he has to go through, the procedures have been the same all season which have given him a fantastic performance level when he's played for us.

"We have to consider that, and Rio has to consider that, and we'll see what the outcome is."

Ferdinand has been an integral part of the Manchester United defence despite the comeback of Nemanja Vidic and the emergence of Jonny Evans and Ferguson is wary about how many games his centre-back plays over a certain amount of days.

"He has to make sure he's going to be OK in terms of the number of games he plays. And that's a fact of life, we have been doing that for two years with the lad and it's worked," Ferguson said.

"The way we've detailed his training programmes and giving him the treatments he needs for the various complaints he has in terms of his back and his groin and things like that, and so far it's worked very well, so we have to look at all these things before Rio decides."

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9 0 +0 0
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