Ferguson resolves Rio problem
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said there is no problem between him and Rio Ferdinand over the player’s refusal to wear a T-shirt supporting the anti-racism Kick It Out campaign ahead of the 4-2 win over Stoke.
Following Ferdinand’s defiance over the issue Ferguson said the 33-year-old defender would be "dealt with".
The pair were reported to have resolved their differences on Sunday and Ferdinand trained at Carrington on Monday morning ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League encounter with Braga at Old Trafford.
Ferguson told a press conference: "There is no issue. There was a communication problem. But it has been resolved."
The United manager also revealed he had decided to rest Ferdinand and Patrice Evra for the Braga game ahead of the Barclays Premier League clash with leaders Chelsea on Sunday.
"He and Patrice Evra will not play. There is a big game at Chelsea on Sunday. They will be the two main changes (on Tuesday)."
But with Chris Smalling still out with a broken metatarsal the defensive options are limited for Ferguson and his decision not to play Ferdinand could see Jonny Evans paired with rookie Scott Wootton.
Ashley Young could return from a knee injury suffered in August after taking part in training.
United have started their European campaign with a 100 per cent record following victories over Galatasaray and Cluj.
Ferguson had hinted that he would take internal disciplinary action against Ferdinand, who was one of several players who refused to wear the T-shirt before games at the weekend.
Ferguson had said before the game that all of his players would wear the T-shirts and condemned Jason Roberts, who refused to do so ahead of Reading’s 1-0 defeat to Liverpool.
Speaking to United’s in-house TV channel MUTV, Ferguson said after the Stoke game on Saturday: "I am disappointed. I said that the players would be wearing it in support of the PFA and that every player should adhere to it.
"And he (Ferdinand) goes and lets us down. We will deal with it, don’t worry."’
Roberts and Ferdinand were protesting at what they perceive to be a lack of action by the ‘Kick It Out’ organisation in combating racism in football.
After high-profile incidents involving Liverpool striker Luis Suarez – banned for eight matches – and Chelsea’s John Terry – suspended for four games for racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother Anton – in the last year, Roberts was particularly unhappy with the latter punishment.
"The four-match ban was, for me, not a heavy enough sanction for what happened," Roberts said in the week.
"I’m totally committed to kicking racism out of football but when there’s a movement I feel represents the issue in the way that speaks for me and my colleagues, then I will happily support it."
Prior to United’s game with Stoke all of Ferdinand’s outfield team-mates wore the black ‘one game, one community’ T-shirts as agreed but the former West Ham man sported a bright red United tracksuit top.
Ferdinand eventually took his training top off to reveal he was wearing a United training shirt, with the DHL sponsors logo.
Ferguson added: "Everyone should be united, with all the players in the country wearing the Kick it Out warm-up tops.
"I don’t know what point he (Roberts) is trying to make.
"I don’t know if he is trying to put himself on a different pedestal from everyone.
"But he really should be supporting all the rest of the players who are doing it."